Midland-born business mentoring programme Oxygen Accelerator has won a contract to help rejuvenate Wolverhampton-based start-up scheme SPARK in a pledge to jumpstart interest from Black Country entrepreneurs.
Funded by and located at University of Wolverhampton Science Park, SPARK gives the equivalent of £10,000 worth of support for each aspiring start-up in certain sectors - providing desk space, access to the university's facilities, on-site experts and other business mentors.
Oxygen Accelerator supports start-ups that are further on in the business development journey, training them to become investor-ready through an intensive, 13-week, mentor-led boot camp.
The programme has helped more than 100 companies since it launched in 2011, with 71 percent going on to gain investment.
Simon Jenner, founder and chief entrepreneur at Oxygen Accelerator, said: "We feel there is a real gap in the market for an early-stage high growth potential business support scheme, so we’re looking forward to getting involved with SPARK.
"SPARK starts at the very beginning with organic ideas, but there is potential to progress on to Oxygen Accelerator and later receive support from our network of angel investors and venture capitalists, so it is a natural fit with the rest of the Oxygen journey.
"We've nurtured thousands of ideas and hundreds of start-ups, so we know a thing or two about kickstarting a business. Under our guidance, SPARK will provide a space in which entrepreneurs can focus on the creation of their business, while tapping into the vast bank of business knowledge that the university has."
Nigel Babb, commercial director of the University of Wolverhampton Science Park, said: “Under Oxygen's guidance, SPARK has the potential to really thrive. We're committed to supporting home-grown businesses and know that committing to turning an idea into a business is a huge step for first-time entrepreneurs.
"The experience of the Oxygen team, combined with the resources and expertise we have here at the science park and university, means SPARK has the potential to become an unstoppable start-up machine and I have every confidence that we'll be putting the Black Country on the map as the best place to start a creative, digital or technology based business."
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