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Business accelerator trend aflame as Ricoh opens Big Ignite for Northampton startups

3 min read

25 April 2016

Former deputy editor

The rise of business accelerators across the UK shows no signs of slowing, with IT services firm Ricoh the latest business to provide a growth and mentoring programme for startups in Northampton.

Dubbed Ricoh Big Ignite, the year-long Northampton-based scheme will help first-year startups from the local area. Ambitious entrepreneurs will be given advice on everything from scaling to marketing to accountancy during the period.

Seemingly 2016 is the year of the business accelerator, with three launching over the past month – these include Angel Hubs from Barclays, JLAB from John Lewis and TD Ventures from Tradedoubler.

Ricoh’s effort will position mentors from across the company as experts to support candidates taking part. Ten companies are registered so far, with three founded from working with the Enterprise programme of corporate partner The Prince’s Trust.

Northampton was chosen to recognise the city’s rising startup scene. According to Ricoh, the area “boasts the highest per capita startup rate in the UK – second only to London”. It added that there are over 80 startups for every 10,000 people.

Read the business growth stories from companies that joined accelerators:

“We are proud to invest in a project that will inspire and support some of the brightest business talent that Northampton, and indeed the UK, has to offer. The startup scene is one that presents many exciting opportunities and challenges and Ricoh wants to continue to help support these new organisations on the start of their business journey,” said Rick Hewitt, finance director, Ricoh UK.

“By nurturing new skills and talent, we hope this will have a knock on effect on the number of new businesses coming through in the local area, boosting what is already a very healthy and thriving startup environment.”

Ricoh itself has over 2,500 staff members and Hewitt hopes Big Ignite will also be of benefit to employees, with the workers learning from and connecting with creative business builders.

He added: “Ricoh can learn from the agility and flexibility that forms the lifeblood of a startup business. It is new skills and new ideas that will keep British businesses competitive, innovative and successful for years to come.”

A variety of companies have signed up so far, with offerings varying between network solutions, point of sale software and crime prevention.

Why did Camden Market partner with a business incubator based on a double-decker bus?

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