Harper Macleod LLP has advised pioneering business accelerator Entrepreneurial Spark in its multi-million pound expansion across the UK.
Last week, it was announced that Entrepreneurial Spark would partner with RBS-owned NatWest to open eight new regional hubs around the UK, starting with Birmingham.
The move will provide support for thousands more entrepreneurs and high growth businesses, with the hubs offering free workspace, hands on mentoring, a start up 'bootcamp' and a free programme of up to 18-months of advice, support and funding clinics.
Harper Macleod has been the Legal Ambassador to Entrepreneurial Spark since its earliest days. The firm provides mentoring services and legal clinics to companies at the accelerator's hubs, or hatcheries, as well as advising Entrepreneurial Spark Limited itself.
Paula Skinner, who advised Entrepreneurial Spark on the expansion along with fellow Harper Macleod Partner Jamie Watt, said: "Having been part of the Entrepreneurial Spark journey since the very beginning, it was important for us to be there to support them at such a vital stage of its development. Entrepreneurial Spark has been incredibly successful in it's short history, and this expansion is great news for start-ups around the country.
"We've mentored and advised many Entrepreneurial Spark chiclets over the past few years – an incredibly diverse range of businesses and ideas – but the biggest deal of all has now been with the start-up for start-ups, Entrepreneurial Spark itself."
Harper Macleod acted for Entrepreneurial-Spark Limited in its new agreements with RBS plc, covering Scotland and the rest of the UK. The new venture will be known as Entrepreneurial Spark powered by NatWest, with Harper Macleod providing advice on the commercial contract, intellectual property issues and the structuring of Entrepreneurial Spark Limited in preparation for the expansion.
Paula added: "The final week, when we concluded the deal, was pretty full on and it was a case of dropping everything else to make it happen. But the whole Entrepreneurial Spark ethos has always been to tell budding entrepreneurs to 'Go Do', and that's what we did."
Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester and Belfast will follow Birmingham, with two more locations still to be announced. The fledgling entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to pitch to potential investors and compete for 'Growth awards' of up to £50,000.
Jim Duffy, CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark, said: "I'd like to thank Harper Macleod, and Paula's team in particular, for their advice and support in helping us reach this stage so quickly. We've been very fortunate to work with a number of great partners from the start, and without them it just wouldn't have been possible.
"Our work so far has had a positive impact on the huge upsurge in the number of new business incorporations, and better still those who go through our programmes have an 80% survival rate which is way above average. We can't wait to take our success story to benefit a wider audience."