Start-up accelerator Spark Up launches to generate 500 “super-businesses” by 2019

North West programme to provide entrepreneurs with free office space, equipment and mentoring

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A new business accelerator has launched to support entrepreneurs in the North West, with a goal to develop 500 “super businesses” in the region over the next five years.

Modelled on America’s “rigorous” four month accelerator MassChallenge, Liverpool-based Spark Up will initially offer 15 start-ups access to workspace, IT equipment, mentoring and master classes in order to help maximise their business growth.

Created with investment from Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and NatWest, along with several other leading organisations, the programme is open to entrepreneurs who have been trading for under two years and are “ambitious to grow”.

It intends to build on the success of MassChallenge which has supported 360 start-ups to date and claims to have generated $95m in revenue with $360m raised in funding.

The first accelerator round will begin in March and will culminate with a graduation event which will take place at the International Business Festival in July.

Spark Up programme director, Dr Nick Owen MBE, discussed the goals of the scheme: “A super business is defined as a start-up which, after completing the accelerator programme, demonstrates meaningful and sustainable long term growth. This will be measured in a number of ways including GVA, employment generation and inward investment.

“We want to support the creation of an environment whereby businesses from across the world begin to relocate to the region because of tangible economic, social and cultural advantages. We want to help create a market for generating, supporting and attracting successful businesses.”

Owen continued:  “Spark Up is a game changer for the Liverpool City Region. Never before have entrepreneurs had access to such a hands-on, switched-on programme of support – and all completely free of charge.”

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