Accelerator programme hoping for big success
Sir Tom Hunter and Willie Haughey are backing a new business support programme.
Entrepreneurial Spark has been launched by Saltire Fellow Jim Duffy and will help connect up and coming business people with some of the best known leaders in Scotland.
Sir Tom has made a financial donation to the project with Haughey offering 6,000 square feet of fully fitted out hotdesks and meeting space at the City Refrigeration headquarters in Glasgow.
US-based Babson College in Boston is also proving mentoring and support to those selected for the programme.
The intensive session, lasting between 45 and 90 days, are built around fostering business growth at different stages such as getting an idea off the ground and securing funding.
Only 25 people will be selected on to the programme at any one time.
Duffy said: "Scotland needs to invest in its entrepreneurs, and while there are several organisations out there doing great work to encourage new business start-ups, nothing exists like this so far.
"We will help entrepreneurs take the germ of an idea, or a burgeoning enterprise, and give them the tools and close guidance required to turn that into a fully-functioning, profitable business which creates wealth and jobs for the Scottish economy.
"We’ve enlisted the help of Scotland’s top business leaders to help entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level. These people have committed to helping entrepreneurship in Scotland and are willing to give their time on a regular basis.
"Nowhere else in Scotland provides that kind of access to such a high level of expertise and know-how, and I’m incredibly excited about the potential for Entrepreneurial Spark to create some great new Scottish business success stories."
Others involved in the venture include law firm Harper MacLeod, accountancy practice RSM Tenon, public relations agency The BIG Partnership, Glasgow Caledonian University and niche professional networking site Kiltr.
Sir Tom Hunter said: "Jim's concept for Entrepreneurial Spark is the sort of bold initiative we need to stimulate high growth businesses; given the perilous state of the economy and the issues facing start-ups this builds a key element into the support mechanisms on offer to those businesses getting going.
"Willie's support is phenomenal and I hope many more from the entrepreneurial community get behind this exceptional business offering."
Willie Haughey said: "Scotland has been screaming out for something like Entrepreneurial Spark for years, and it’s the kind of thing which those of us who have created successful businesses absolutely have to get behind.
"Wealth and job creation has never been more important, and the potential for Entrepreneurial Spark to make a real contribution to that is incredibly exciting."