Views and announcements

Ulster Bank continues to light the way for NI entrepreneurs

  • Ulster Bank has released the Northern Ireland findings of its 2017 Impact Report regarding activity at its Lombard Street-based entrepreneurial hub in Belfast.

    Since its inception in 2015, the venture - now called the Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator - has made a significantly positive impression on the entrepreneurial community in Northern Ireland, with a cumulative total of 264 entrepreneurs supported, 658 jobs created and £15m raised in investment for businesses based in the hub.

    Lynsey Cunningham, Entrepreneur Development Manager for the bank, welcomed the news:

    “These figures show that the model of connecting brilliant ideas and people with practical support and guidance can deliver outstanding results. I’m proud of the work that we’ve done to date to build a vibrant entrepreneurial community in Northern Ireland, and I’m excited about what we still have to do.”

    As part of continuing to build on the success of the work to date, Ulster Bank has brought the hub – formerly called Entrepreneurial Spark – into the bank as a fully managed accelerator, becoming the Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator. This move mirrors similar changes made across the UK.

    Lynsey Cunningham continues: “The Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator will continue the fantastic work done to date, with the same outstanding and expert team, and we’ll be bringing greater clarity to how we support both early stage businesses, as well as those high-growth prospects that want to scale up.”

    “Our aim is to support even more entrepreneurs, help create even more jobs, and facilitate start-ups to bring in even more investment. We know this is a really compelling proposition and we’re pleased to be offering start-up and scale-up businesses fully-funded office space, mentoring, access to expertise, knowledge, networks and supply chains,” she adds.

    As part of the new structure, the bank will be making changes to the model to better encourage further business growth:

    • The Acceleration programme is a 6 to 18-month programme for entrepreneurs with high growth businesses looking to scale up. Designed to ensure that these businesses get the best chance to succeed, entrepreneurs will receive free office space, free wi-fi, free business support and mentoring, bespoke coaching, and access to the bank’s networks and supply chains.
    • The Pre-Acceleration programme is an intensive, 12-week programme for up to 50 early stage start-ups. Run simultaneously in each of our Hub cities, entrepreneurs benefit from an introductory immersion day, online learning materials, webinars, digital ‘nutshells’ and a concluding celebratory awards event. This programme is complemented by a variety of events, run by the bank’s Business Growth Enablers, as well as the bank’s local partners.

    In 2017, the bank’s Entrepreneurial Development Academy, which supports the development of intrapreneurial skills and understanding among staff, received external accreditation from the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. 256 Ulster Bank colleagues are part of the Academy.

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