Launched only 4 months ago, Jim Duffy’s Entrepreneurial Spark has ignited its own fast track growth with news that Sir Tom Hunter is to back a parallel facility at his head office at the Olympic Business Park in Ayrshire. Hunter and Willie Haughey came together to support Duffy’s first facility in Glasgow.

Hunter’s commitment over an initial five years will enable Entrepreneurial Spark – a not for profit enterprise – to support 25 to 30 start-up or nascent businesses every six months with the aim of seeing them exit then, funded and fully operational thus driving employment opportunities in the area and beyond.

In turn the facility will work with schools in the area supporting the next generation of entrepreneurial talent to come forward.

Hunter is also in detailed talks with all three Ayrshire Councils with a view to seeking their support and collaboration for the facility. Both East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire Council’s have agreed to contribute £50K per annum reviewable annually to the facility.

Jim Duffy, CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark commented:

“This commitment underscores both the need and the efficacy of our offering to potential high growth businesses. Tom recognises that by offering early stage infrastructural support, combined with business growth expertise that we can hot house more businesses faster to provide new and high value jobs and opportunities for Scotland.

“We see Entrepreneurial Spark not as an enterprise but as a movement, if you like its an iteration of the Entrepreneurial Exchange – we are for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. We understand business growth hurdles and hopefully the ladders to overcome them, moreover by having

25 to 30 businesses working alongside one another you have no idea of the synergies and shared problem solving that goes on.”

Hunter has set aside a floor of his head office to provide all the necessary infrastructure required for the Ayrshire Entrepreneurial Spark and will personally be involved in mentoring and supporting the businesses there.

Sir Tom noted:

“I more or less started Sports Division here – all we need is one high growth business to follow suit in whatever sector they choose and this investment will have paid for itself umpteen times over…It really is very exciting.

“Importantly I believe all three Ayrshire Councils completely get this as does John Swinney, who has been hugely supportive of the concept. I think this could be the most productive public-private partnership on offer in the entrepreneurial space and I truly hope when we come to launch in May that partnership will be signed and sealed.”

Jim Duffy concluded by saying:

“In the meantime as we get up and running here in Ayrshire, I’d ask anyone interested in participating as a business, a mentor or sponsor to get in touch with us at“.

Current entrepreneurial supporters of the Glasgow facility including Haughey and Michelle Mone will also participate in helping the Ayrshire businesses.


Update on Entrepreneurial Spark in Glasgow after 4 months:

  • 36 early stage business in with over 50 people on a waiting list for the next intake
  • Up to 10 on or about to go on the Business Gateway High Growth Pipeline
  • One closing on an international licensing deal
  • 5 registering as new companies with share agreements
  • 2 launching new products this month
  • One flying the nest to a new operations site – all boosted by Travelator One
  • 5 entering start ups competitions in the tech area
  • Three applying for patents within Medtech, Healthcare and Entertainment
  • One secured a significant new customer within Property Factoring
  • Two won prizes as potential ‘ones to watch’ by Michelle Mone