Leeds accelerator hub generates almost £5.5 million of investment figures have revealed

Entrepreneurial Spark Powered by NatWest launched its annual report for 2016 today.

The figures in this year’s Entrepreneurial Spark Impact Report demonstrate how  the  Leeds hub continues to support entrepreneurs in the development of their businesses.

Since opening the hub in Leeds at Park Cross Street in August 2015, Entrepreneurial Spark has helped 142 local businesses attract almost £5.5million of investment and create 254 new jobs. The turnover generated by businesses in the Leeds hub was in excess of £12.2million. Working shoulder to shoulder in the hub are NatWest Entrepreneur Development Manager Melissa Hulme, and Entrepreneurial Spark Enablers Melinda O’Reilly and Natasha Babar-Evans.

Carolyn Pearson, CEO of Maiden Voyage which aims to make business travel both safe and social for women, has seen significant development in her business since joining Entrepreneurial Spark in 2015. Turnover has increased 300% and the business has also won £13K in prize money.  Its online community has risen from 8,000 to 11,000, and they’ve developed and brought to market a fantastic new e-learning solution

She said: “Prior to Entrepreneurial Spark, Maiden Voyage was run solely by the founder and a few freelancers but our involvement in the programme has resulted in us securing close to £500K investment. We have recruited an outstanding team of professionals, creating jobs, and have expanded our client base globally.”

Melisa Hulme, Entrepreneur Development Manger at NatWest, said: “The figures for our Leeds hub show just how much of a footprint Entrepreneurial Spark is having in Leeds and the wider Yorkshire economy. We are very proud of all of our entrepreneurs and their commitment to the programme which is enabling them to create jobs, secure investment and support their local economies.”

The figures in the Impact Report are reflected across all four nations of the UK, with 2016 seeing hubs now open in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and across all sectors. Crucially the number of jobs created by those businesses is 3,152, all of which have a positive impact on the UK economy.

In the areas of turnover and investment the figures are even more impressive. The businesses supported by Entrepreneurial Spark have now turned over £176m and secured £151m in investment.

A people-centric and action-orientated approach means businesses that have been through the Entrepreneurial Spark programme have focussed and resilient leaders, and a fantastic chance of growing as a business. 85% of the businesses accelerated are still trading which is more than double the national average.

A focus on creating growth mindsets and hands-on enablement by Entrepreneurial Spark with the key support of all its partners in NatWest, KPMG Enterprise, Dell Technologies and Pinsent Masons means that over 1,700 businesses have been helped to grow and scale-up.

Entrepreneurial Spark recently created a new suite of programmes which will build even more people who build even better businesses. This evolved model will provide specialised, bespoke enablement for entrepreneurs on all stages of their journey.

Lucy-Rose Walker, Entrepreneurial Spark CEO said: “Our vision is to create positive social change by giving people the chance to grow and create jobs, and value in the economy. It’s really gratifying to see that those entrepreneurs have now created 3,152 jobs across the UK, all of them creating social change by contributing to their communities and local economies.

“Our partnership with NatWest  is such a powerful one and enables us to give hands-on practical help to start-ups of every kind, from that first spark of an idea, right up to bigger businesses needing to scale and grow. We also love working with KPMG, Dell Technologies and Harper Macleod because as the experts in what they do they offer so much to our entrepreneurs.

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