Willie Haughey Backs New Entrepreneurs
Friday, 11 November 2011
A new business accelerator programme launched this week to give budding entrepreneurs in the early stages of starting a business access to free expert advice, office facilities and other resources.
The social enterprise project will be based at Caledonia House, the head office of City Refrigeration Holdings, run by Willie Haughey.
Willie Haughey, who has donated the use of the office space, logistics and computer support 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.”
Sir Tom Hunter, who has also made an undisclosed donation to the project, will be joined by other key figures in the business community - all of whom have committed their time and expertise to help mentor new business owners.
Babson College in Boston, one of the world’s leading business schools, will be providing additional academic input. Other groups involved include law firm Harper MacLeod, The Big Partnership PR company, accountancy practice RSM Tenon, Glasgow Caledonian University and networking website Kiltr.
Sir Tom Hunter said “Scotland definitely needs this. There are not enough people starting businesses here at the moment. This is a tough economy, but you come to something like this and it really is a beacon of hope.”
Entrepreneurial Spark was created by Jim Duffy, a former policeman turned entrepreneur who has developed businesses in licensing and car valeting. It will offer support for up to a year with input from the initial planning stages to marketing and securing investment. The first recruits will join the programme in January.
“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 for the Scottish economy,” said Mr Duffy.
“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.
Between 20-25 entrepreneurs will be eligible to join the first intake for Entrepreneurial Spark, with places allocated through an informal application and interview process.