Jay Smith of Bewei 55 with Ben McDonald, Head of Enterprise at KPMG, and Alison Rose, Head of Commer
Jamie Hardesty

Entrepreneurial Spark boosts North East startups with Newcastle expansion

Business startup accelerator program Entrepreneurial Spark has expanded to Newcastle, supporting new enterprise in the region.

Powered by NatWest and in partnership with KPMG Enterprise, Dell EMC and Pinsent Masons, 80 budding entrepreneurs are now based in the NatWest building in Trinity Gardens, on Newcastle’s Quayside.

The Newcastle Hatchery is part of a network of 13 Hatcheries being created across the UK by Entrepreneurial Spark in conjunction with NatWest, and its partners.

The new businesses or ‘Chiclets’ enter the Hatchery for up to six months, with potential to continue for another 12 if they are among the most promising.

Access to the Newcastle Hatchery includes physical office space with superfast internet, a startup Bootcamp, dedicated mentoring from NatWest, KPMG Enterprise, Dell EMC and Pinsent Masons as well as regular events, workshops and training, all free of charge. A new intake of Chiclets will start at the Hatchery every six months.

Entrepreneurial Spark’s last Impact Report, published at the start of 2016, shows 88% of startups and early stage entrepreneurs who have been through Entrepreneurial Spark’s enablement programme are still trading today.

The report also highlights the scale of the support the accelerator is providing entrepreneurs across the UK. Since Entrepreneurial Spark was founded in 2011, the 660 businesses it has supported have had an aggregate turnover of £85,891,661 (£40m, in 2014), attracted £45,167,348 of investment (£18 million in 2014) and created 1,816 jobs.

Alison Rose, CEO of Commercial and Private Banking at NatWest, said: “The results of our recent Entrepreneurship Monitor show that the current economic climate is impacting people’s confidence to start up a business particularly in the North East.

“It is clear that people want local support, local networks and local advice and this is why we have partnered with Entrepreneurial Spark setting up the hatcheries across the country to revolutionise the way we support entrepreneurs.

“Newcastle is highly entrepreneurial, and by providing the area’s aspiring business owners with first-class support, office space and Wi-Fi, as well as access to our people and networks, they will be able to concentrate on establishing and growing their business.”

Lucy-Rose Walker, CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark, said: “It goes without saying that we’re hugely excited to be arriving in the North East with the launch of the Newcastle Hatchery. We’ve been welcomed with open arms by the ecosystem who are all eager to #GoDo.

“The Hatchery itself is a first class resource, powered by NatWest, and we have some exceptional high growth potential Chiclets in the Hatchery who we’re looking forward to enabling and accelerating their progression and scale.”

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