What is Spark?
Spark is for anyone aged 18 and over who is looking to start their own business. It provides the insight and tools to move your idea or business forward and offers a unique opportunity to launch your business in a supportive environment.
Through a range of workshops, events, guidance and 1:1 coaching, you will create a business plan using the knowledge and skills you learn during the programme.
For new enterprises, there is a six week test trade period, allowing you to trial and start up your business within a supportive environment. A £500 grant, a package of business support and training in excess of £4,000 and a business mentor will also be provided for every business that reaches the end of the programme.
Registered your business in the last 12 months? Click here to join our Spark for New Businesses programme!
How does the programme work?
To find out your next steps, attend one of our information sessions.
We don't have any information sessions scheduled at the moment. Click here to register your interest.
Step 1 - Idea:
Complete a short application form which includes a brief desciption of your business idea. You will then be invited to an informal interview to talk through your idea in more depth with our New Enterprise Advisor.
Step 2 - Inspiration:
Attend a two day knowledge and skills sharing event. During the two days, you will hear talks from business owners, previous Spark students and attend a series of short sessions in areas such as finance and marketing. You will also have access to business advisors and consultants for any questions you may have.
You will also be offered a range of three hour, subject specfic workshops, such as VAT Registration and Registering as a Business.
Step 3 - Proposition:
Using the knowledge you gained from the second step, you will begin to write your business plan. The plan will be reviewed and evaluated by a panel of business experts who will select the ones they wish to see present their business plan. If you are successful, you will need to present your business plan to the panel.
Step 4 - Realisation:
After an initial consultation, you will be provided with a package of support while developing your business plan. During this step, we will assign you with a relevant mentor.
Step 5 - Acceleration:
Receive £500 towards your start up costs. For new enterprises, you will be given office space in an environment that matches your business idea, for example, a Health related business may have office space in the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre. You will have regular meetings with your mentor to support you during the start-up period.
If you are an existing business, you will be allocated office space if required.
What happens next?
At the end of the test trade period, we won't leave you to get on with it, we will provide you with access to a business advisor and a mentor for a further 12 months while you get established!
If at any point during the five steps you decide you are not ready to start your business just yet, we will provide advice and guidance on other opportunities available across the county.
Contact the Spark team on:
t: 01872 308236