Gary Millar gets behind latest drive for Spark Up applications

Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Investment, Gary Millar is encouraging budding entrepreneurs across Liverpool to sign up to Spark Up’s fourth programme, as applications remain open for just two more weeks.

The businessman has supported the programme since it launched in 2013 providing free support and mentoring for start-ups in the city region. Most recently he addressed thirty of the programmes current entrepreneurs as part of a series of talks for Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Applications for a new 12-week long programme starting in January 2016 are now open until 5th December.

Mr Millar has backed the latest recruitment campaign, encouraging entrepreneurs to take advantage of the half a million pounds worth of investment opportunities that Spark Up has created to date.

Founder Jenny Stewart, is looking for around 50 entrepreneurs to part in January, with scores already putting their names forward. It will be the first of three programmes next year alone – giving more Merseyside entrepreneurs a chance to take part than ever before.

Spark Up offers support and advice for entrepreneurs via a programme of workshops, seminars and one-to-one mentoring. It covers everything from the perfect pitch, business practicalities and realties through to developing an entrepreneurial mind set and making the right connections.

Mr Millar said:

“Last week I was fortunate enough to meet some of the entrepreneurs on this year’s Spark Up programme and not only share with them my business story, but also hear their stories and hear how Jenny and the team have helped push them on to growth.

“Start-ups are the life blood of the economy and it’s great to see programmes like Spark Up, stick their heads above the parapet and get behind our budding entrepreneurs.

“I know what it’s like to set up your own business. When I did so there was very little support available to me, so it was a hard slog for me to get to where I am today – it still is a hard slog sometimes, but I wouldn’t change that for the world.

“I would encourage anyone, anywhere in the city to apply for the latest programme, not just for the world-class support and advice they will receive, but to be a part of something which is truly exciting and inspirational.

“Jenny Stewart and her team have done a wonderful job with Spark Up and have helped to put Liverpool on the map as one of the UK’s biggest and brightest entrepreneurial cities.”

Projections based on the latest impact report, show that Spark Up could see investment totals rise to £1million by the end of next year, as well as taking the total number of jobs created to more than 100.

Ms Stewart said:

“We are looking for driven, passionate and committed individuals with a business or business proposition to join us in 2016.

“Spark Up has been designed to help these early stage entrepreneurs and drive them forward to growth and success. Those who are lucky enough to secure a place on the programme will be able to take advantage of our network of business supporters and enablers, via workshops, master classes and one-to-one mentoring sessions.

“Our successes to date show that there is an appetite in Liverpool for supporting and inspiring new businesses, and proves that the Spark Up model really does work.

“Over the past three years I have watched our entrepreneurs grow as individuals and, with that, grow their businesses. Now as we embark on our fourth year I look forward to welcoming even more new and inspiring individuals, who share our determination to make Liverpool one of the best places in the UK for start-up businesses.”

Spark Up will continue to be supported by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce and Natwest. As well as the University of Liverpool, Glow New Media and the BIG Partnership, who have be instrumental to Spark Up’s success since its conception in 2013.

Applications can be made via the Spark Up website and close at XX on December 5th. Successful applicants will be invited to interview stages, which will take place the following week.

More information can be found by contacting

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