The Start of SPARK:
SPARK Business Incubation Hub was opened in 2004 with European Regional Development Funds and Wolverhampton Science Park Limited funding to provide 15,000 sqft of business incubator space for start-up companies in the Creative Industries Sectors within the Wolverhampton and West Midlands area. The programme was established to raise the technology profile of the area with increased focus on clusters of activities in engineering (transport and building orientated), creative media (particularly multimedia, architectural and engineering design) and ICT. In the early years of the programme the focus was targeted at creative industries but in recent years the remit of SPARK support was broadened to meet the full criteria mentioned above.
Based at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park, SPARK helps start-ups that are creative or use technology in innovative ways to launch, develop and grow their businesses. This supportive eco-system around your start-up is why incubated companies are far more likely to survive than those that go it alone.
A modern and relaxed workspace:
There are exciting changes emerging in SPARK….we have recently modernised the Studio to create a cool, trendy and relaxed workspace whilst still providing excellent start up support and ongoing business growth opportunities supported by the regional Growth Hubs. We run Spark Start and Spark Grow workshops through the year as well as seminars on useful topics such as marketing, cyber security, finance, employment law etc.
We have secured European Regional Development Funds to commence a comprehensive SPARKpreneur Programme aiming to put the “Science” back into the Science Park and create a strong SPARK brand associated with commercialisation and business creation from innovation and research.
The SPARKpreneur Programme (part of the Enterprise Action ERDF Project) is designed to support local entrepreneurs to develop their innovations and start up their own businesses across a wide geographical area that includes the Black Country and the Marches LEP areas of the West Midlands. The programme will target potential higher growth innovations, which will benefit from targeted fast track support and financial assistance to achieve product commercialisation.
The Programme will primarily support STEM and Creative entrepreneurs and will run between 10 and 12 cohorts throughout its duration. Each cohort will commence with between 30 and 40 individuals with a business idea that they believe can be developed on a fast track programme. The programme commences with accelerated science and technology entrepreneurship workshops providing an overview of how business works, how a new enterprise is developed and the steps needed to take an idea from a vague concept to a market ready product. There is online business evaluation and individual profiling as well as impartial and critical appraisal of the business idea. The best propositions are invited to participate in the SPARKpreneur Institute and those that successfully develop their idea into a commercial proposition will be assisted both with expertise and grant funding to gain commercial investment to take their business to market.
SPARK’s mission is to retain creative and tech talent in the local area and to attract investment to the Black Country and The Marches.
Why not drop by and see first-hand how we seek to nurture and grow your science, creative or technology idea with us?