Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator relaunches following impressive results

  • Ulster Bank relaunched its successful Entrepreneur Accelerator programme yesterday with an event gathering local business leaders to show them what the programme has achieved.

    The Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator programme offers free office space and mentorship support to start-ups and businesses aiming to rapidly scale up, with 12 hubs across the UK supporting over 350 businesses since the scheme launched in 2015. The Belfast accelerator was recently taken in-house into the Ulster Bank building following a £400,000 investment to create a collaborative work space for businesses.

    The accelerator officially launched yesterday at an event in the new space, with senior business leaders and funders in attendance, and Sync NI went along to see how Northern Ireland's business talent is using the space. While many of the businesses in the accelerator are start-ups, Ulster Bank was keen to reinforce that the accelerator is for any business that wants to reach scale.

    The 2018 figures from the programme are pretty impressive, with £3.4m in investment and £2.7m turnover across over 110 businesses supported. Ulster Bank reported that 53% of the entrepreneurs supported by the scheme were female, significantly higher than the national average of only 20% of SME owners. 

    Northern Irish businesses are among the quickest in the UK to reach the £1m turnover mark, but most have issues accessing the finance and connections needed to break the £10m mark and that's where the accelerator can help most. An impact assessment on businesses that have been through the programme has also showed that it has helped them to create around 1,000 jobs and attract £20m in investment.

    Ulster Bank’s Head of NI Richard Donnan was positive about decision to bring the accelerator in-house: "Having the Belfast Hub in house is an significant move for Ulster Bank and we are pleased to be so closely aligned with dynamic work that they do. Teams across all business divisions in Ulster Bank are being energised by the vibrancy of our entrepreneurs who in turn are given even closer access to coaching from our business leaders and connections to our expanding customer network."

    About the author

    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

Share this story