Welcome investment in Glasgow's Entrepreneurial Spark

THE creation of new businesses is a major driver of our economy and I was delighted to read recently of the funding boost for a scheme called Entrepreneurial Spark.

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The initiative does a tremendous job helping fledgling firms get off the ground in Glasgow and beyond.

While many people have an idea they want to transform into a new business idea, they need support in getting their idea off the ground.

ESpark's so-called 'hatcheries' in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Ayrshire have been doing a tremendous job of providing mentoring, advice and facilities to fledgling businesses in the first six months of their existence.

In that first 18 months, the scheme has already delivered vital support to more than 250 start-up businesses at its three hubs across Scotland.

It has helped to secure investment for companies such as technology firm Zapcoder to develop its smartphone programming app and for PAWSitively Natural, which supplies nutritional pet food.

This represents more than 200 new jobs, and millions of pounds of investment - a huge boost at a time when the economy is beginning to show signs of recovery.

However, more than £300,000 of new funding will now allow ESpark to expand its work to include a new set of 'nests'.

This will deliver a similar level of help, but for more established companies.

Many of the start-ups who have been in the hatcheries have gone from strength to strength after evolving from an idea on paper to becoming a viable business.

But they could still do with additional support so they become more than just a short-term success.

The funding provided by the Royal Bank of Scotland and Glasgow City Council will now enable ESpark to widen the service it offers to a broader range of fledgling companies.

Entrepreneurs who have been trading for between six months and five years will be eligible for the support offered from the nests, regardless of whether they have been through the ESpark hatchery process or not.

The project already has the backing of some of Scotland's leading business figures, including Sir Tom Hunter and Ann Glaog OBE, giving real credibility and confidence to those who are accepted onto the programme.

Having visited ESpark in the summer I know just what a great job it does and this investment is a real vote of confidence in the support it provides to our businesses of tomorrow.

And it is not just the expertise, advice and mentoring of the programme which helps build firm foundations for these start-ups.

ESpark hopes to encourage an entrepreneurial revolution in Scotland. It has so far received great backing from politicians, public bodies and the business community.

So, it is vital that we continue this in order to reap the maximum benefits for communities in Glasgow and across Scotland.


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                Janice Bell                

Janice Bell


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