MORE than 500 jobs have been created and over £15million turnover has been generated by new companies thanks to help from a Glasgow-based business support agency.

Entrepreneurial Spark, which is based in the Gorbals, has announced a 342% increase in turnover in a year.

ESpark was founded in 2011 and is backed by some of Scotland's top business leaders, including Lord Haughey, Sir Tom Hunter and Dr Ann Gloag.

In its annual Impact Report, the company said it generated more than £15.6m in total turnover from 280 new start-ups.

This also represents 520 new jobs, more than double that of the previous year.

ESpark founder Jim Duffy said: "The last 12 months have been a whirlwind and we could not dream 2013 would be so successful.

"As the Impact Report shows, there is a huge appetite for promoting entrepreneurship in Scotland and we are extremely appreciative for all the businesses and organisations that have supported us over the past year.

"We look forward to trying to achieve even bigger and better things this year."

The fledgling businesses also saw a 214% rise in funding, up to £8m, meaning enhanced support from existing and new partners from the private and public sectors.

The programme also saw 259 new patents, trademarks and franchises.

Other ESpark successes from the past year included Scotland's entrepreneurial awards, Hatchery Hits The Street, which saw £140,000 of prize money awarded to the country's leading start-ups.

ESpark also released its first film, Entrepreneuring Is …, which followed 11 budding entrepreneurs for five months through the agency's hatchery programme.

During the past year Espark also built a close partnership with the Royal Bank Of Scotland.

Gordon Merrylees, RBS head of business banking, said: "Our partnership with ESpark has been the catalyst to make us better understand the entrepreneur's mindset and behaviours and think differently about the pivotal part we can play."

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