Interviews

British business accelerator Entrepreneurial Spark to ignite startup growth in India

3 min read

10 June 2015

Former deputy editor

Glasgow-headquartered Entrepreneurial Spark is taking its UK-wide business accelerator network international and will focus on supporting new companies and entrepreneurs in India.

The company supported 352 firms in 2014 and has spent much of 2015 expanding its startup hub “hatcheries” across Britain in locations including Birmingham, Bristol and Brighton.

Looking beyond its British borders, Scottish firm Entrepreneurial Spark has aligned with New Delhi-based investment and development group Viridian to take the business acceleration network to Asia, beginning with India.

The pair have a goal of growing 300 businesses and 10,000 jobs in the first three years of operating in the new market, which will be targeted with the opening of centres across the country.

Entrepreneurial Spark co-founder and chief executive Jim Duffy believes the project will have a “positive knock-on effect” for innovation and economic growth in India.

He said: “We have chosen India as our first overseas expansion because of the huge potential there for entrepreneurship to make a difference. There is a growing entrepreneurial spirit in India, with a young, large and skilled population making the country uniquely placed to foster new business creation.

“But this raw material, or potential, is not matched with the means to make it happen. This joint venture does – it presents a clear and documented structure with a track record. The vision is to create India’s most successful accelerator and be the ‘go to’ for entrepreneurs.”

Read more on emerging markets:

The joint venture will offer businesses chosen for the programme six months in a hatchery and and 18 months of additional support, referred to as the nest.

Delhi, Noida (Delhi NCR), GIFT City and Ahmedabad will house initial hatcheries, while more will follow in Bangalore, Mumbai/Pune and Hyderabad, all of which were chosen “because they are central hubs of economic development, have access to educational institutions and are natural entrepreneurship hubs”.

Vijay Raghavan, CEO, Viridian, said: “The demographics of our country demand more than a million jobs to be created every month in the next decade. Our country hence needs more new entrepreneurs and startup businesses. Currently there are large gaps in the support systems for entrepreneurs.

“While Indian entrepreneurs are second to none in the world, some aspects of entrepreneurship skills also need to be improved if we are to expect a larger share of the global venture capital. The Viridian Group is keen to address these gaps and support in building the entrepreneurship ecosystem of India. We are hence bringing one of the world’s best accelerator programs to India.

Image: Shutterstock