Spark Ups hit the streets

Entrepreneurs on Liverpool’s business accelerator programme, Spark Up were given a unique opportunity to take their products and services directly to consumers, thanks to support from The Liverpool BID Company.

Eight of the programmes brightest businesses headed to Lord Street to showcase their businesses to potential customers, offering product samples and inviting responses to market research questionnaires.

The Liverpool BID company allowed the entrepreneurs to use the space, free of charge as part of its commitment to support more than 1,500 businesses within the Liverpool region.

Entrepreneurs were able to speak with hundreds of shoppers and passers-by during the day, collecting vital information from real life consumers, which will help support their future business trading plans.

Kate and Mike Baugh, founders of Cigam Productions, who specialise in bespoke, live cabaret and circus entertainment. They are currently performing as with Ken Dodd’s Happiness Tour and have been regular performers at Circo on the Albert Dock.

The husband and wife team donned their most outrageous performer’s outfits to giver passers-by a small taste of what they have to offer. They hope to use the feedback from the day to develop plans to create a resident circus in Liverpool.

Kate said:

“Our unusual outfits certainly attracted lots of attention from shoppers, who were more than happy to stop and chat with us – despite the day’s wet weather!

“Our dream is to create Liverpool’ first ever resident city circus emulating the likes of ‘The Big Apple Circus’ in New York City, so it was wonderful to hear that almost all of the people we spoke to would love to see this in Liverpool as well.

“We managed to get lots of other useful information as well, such as how much people would be willing to pay to see a five star circus show, what time of year they would likely to see a show and where they might be looking for information.

“All of this will help us strengthen our business plan and ensure we have the best understanding possible of our target audience.”

Bill Addy, Chief Executive at The Liverpool BID Company said:

“We are always looking at ways in which BID can support the development of new businesses in Liverpool and are pleased to be able to help some of the businesses currently involved in the Spark Up programme.

“We hope the entrepreneurs found what the feedback they gathered useful and wish each and every one of them luck in creating successful businesses, which will have a positive impact on the city.

“New businesses have a vital role to play in the future of our economy, which is why programmes such as Spark Up are so important. We look forward to working with the team at Spark Up more closely in future months.”

Spark Up is a 12-week long programme, offering entrepreneurs advice and support on how to develop a working and scalable business model, via workshops, seminars and masterclasses led by its network of mentors and business experts.

To date Spark Up has created more than £400,000 worth of investment opportunities for start-ups in the city region, helped increase collective turnover by 163% and generated a total of 45 jobs for local people.

Spark Up was founded by the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce in partnership with NatWest and is supported by Liverpool-based businesses Glow New Media and The BIG Partnership, as well as the University of Liverpool.

Founder Jenny Stewart, said:

“I would like to thank The Liverpool BID Company for giving our entrepreneurs this exciting opportunity to gather meaningful feedback on their businesses and products from a real life audience.

“It is only through the support of companies like Liverpool BID that Spark Up has been able to grow and become the successful programme it is today.

“Our aim is to bring businesses, leaders, trade bodies and the like, together and work collaboratively to offer a way to nurture and grow the burgeoning pool of entrepreneurial talent that exists within our city.”

Applications for the fourth Spark Up programme, which will start in January 2016 are now open via the Spark Up website:

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