They promised that it would #BlowYourMind2017, and they have delivered! The release of the Entrepreneurial Spark Impact Report 2017 has lived up to the hype and definitely blown our minds here in the Harper Macleod offices.
The figures show that all of the enablement and hard work by the enablers and Entrepreneurs over the last year has resulted in Entrepreneurial Spark's strongest year to date, and confirmed its place as the world's largest free business accelerator.
Let's break down the figures from the Impact Report:
• 2016 has seen 1,736 companies supported, up from 660 in 2015;
• Investments have increased in 2016 to £151,334,681 from £45,167,348 in 2015;
• Turnover has increased significantly to£176,308,731 from £85,891,661; and
• 3,152 jobs have been created, up from 1,816 last year.
The scale of the achievements
Scale-up and growth is categorised by many different elements. It's not just about revenues or job creation on their own. If you follow the definition of scale up from Steve Blank, the American serial entrepreneur and academic, then it's clear that the entrepreneurs and businesses within the Entrepreneurial Spark programme have been growing significantly in terms of their market access, revenues, job creation and investment.
Investment is a crucial aspect of scaling a business as well, and the substantial investments received by entrepreneurs is key to allowing them to grow and scale their businesses within their vision and aspirations.
Finding like-minded investors who want to become part of a journey to grow and develop is vitally important and Entrepreneurial Spark's ability to help make entrepreneurs credible, backable and investable is proven. You have to appreciate the bigger picture.
Despite the above figures being massive, they don't tell the full story. Check out the figures for the Highland & Islands Virtual Pilot which ran for an initial three months from August and October 2016:
- Turnover up by 32%;
- Job creation up by 22%; and
- Investments up by 13%.
As a partner of Entrepreneurial Spark from day one, Harper Macleod has been involved with the programme closely across all Scottish Hubs in Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow and most recently the Highland & Islands Virtual Pilot. Through our work with Entrepreneurial Spark we have helped to accelerate over 460 entrepreneurs in the last year alone. We worked closely with the entrepreneurs on the Highland & Islands Virtual Pilot and we saw how driven they were to succeed, and these figures go to show what an impact Entrepreneurial Spark is having on businesses in a limited period of time.
It was also great to read in the Impact Report about another Entrepreneur who we have supported from the Ayrshire Hub, who, in year 1 of his business is projecting revenues of £100,000 and has already grown a team of 10 staff. Talk about a scalable start-up!
A new model for business growth
This is just the start for Entrepreneurial Spark. With a new programme of enablement focussed on the different stages in a business's lifecycle, Entrepreneurial Spark will provide even more tailored enablement for business in the initial Sprint, Enable, Grow and Scale cycles.
The final Scale cycle is designed to offer a programme that covers off all of the usual pain points and challenges that businesses who want to scale encounter. With the right enablement and a new scale tool being implemented, those businesses will have the opportunity to develop into fully equipped and scale-enabled businesses.
We have worked alongside Entrepreneurial Spark for over five years and we continue to be amazed by what it achieves. The growth of Entrepreneurial Spark itself and that of the entrepreneurs and businesses it supports is incredibly inspiring.
It's safe to say we are looking forward to the next year working with everyone involved with the programme.