Spark Up scheme Triketastic wins extra funding
Triketastic, the company founded by Andrew Milne as part of the Spark Up pilot business acclerator scheme for Merseyside, has won an extra £5,000 of investment.
Triketastic offers tourists trips around Liverpool city centre in purpose-converted VW Beetle tricycles. The business, founded by Andrew Milne, was part of the Spark Up business accelerator programme, along with 15 other start-up businesses from the region.
The Spark Up business accelerator scheme was launched by Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce whose aim is to create as many as 500 “super businesses” in the Liverpool City Region by 2020.
At the chamber’s annual dinner at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, Andrew Milne joined two of his fellow Spark Up “graduates”; Alissa Koopal of Izzy Melody and Carl brown of Russel and Brown’s Vintage Hair, to pitch their businesses to the assembled audience.
After a poll of the 430 dinner guests, Triketastic were declared the winner and received £5,000 from Spark Up supporters Natwest.
Jenny Stewart, chamber chief executive, also announced a bonus prize for all three businesses of a week’s worth of complimentary advertising on the twin big screens of Forever 21 and Clayton Square.
A panel of experts, including Lorna Davidson from The Mothership, Councillor Gary Millar, Paul Telfer of Natwest, and Paul Stowers from UKTI, put questions to each of the entrepreneurs about their businesses.
Andrew Milne said that he would invest the money in equipment and development of more tricycles, adding that this would allow him to free up funds to create a permanent employment position. Triketastic can now retain an engineer who had supported the company from the start and who had been made redundant from their full-time job that very day.
Andrew Milne said:
“It was a bit of a shock to hear my name called out on the evening, as everyone’s pitches on the night were phenomenal and we all worked really hard to get them as perfect as possible for the evening.
“£5,000 is a lot of money and will enable me to develop the trikes even further, but more than that it will allow me to give something back to someone who has given up their time so generously to help me during my Triketastic journey, in the form paid employment.
“It’s great to be able to say that I am now an employer and able to contribute to our local economy.
“Feedback from the annual dinner was amazing and I have had lots of enquiries and requests already – my social media pages in particular have just gone mad ever since. I helped launch the Liverpool Santa Dash and the amount of people who were coming up to me, saying they’d read all about the trikes was unbelievable.”
Spark Up launched in January 2014, offering a pilot programme to 15 local businesses over a course of 20-weeks. Amongst the 15, an extra £205,000 of investment opportunities has been generated, while the businesses have increased their collective turnover by approximately 103% and created employment for another 17 local people.
Jenny Stewart announced at the dinner that, owing to this year’s success, another Spark Up programme was due to take place in 2015 with entrepreneurs encouraged to apply at www.sparkup.org.uk
Words: Peter Cribley