Sparking jobs and growth

Finallists from the last Spark Notts competition Sonja Powell, Charlie Bailey, Terry Taggart, Suzie Miller, Hugh Frost and  Alex Weston
Finallists from the last Spark Notts competition Sonja Powell, Charlie Bailey, Terry Taggart, Suzie Miller, Hugh Frost and Alex Weston

Nottinghamshire entrepreneurs are being urged to get involved in an initiative designed to create new jobs and support business growth.

Spark Notts, now in its second year, will offer local businesspeople free online business support, networking opportunities, expert training days and business coaching

In March they will be launching a Spark business idea competition with an anticipated prize fund in excess of £25k which will be awarded at a high profile judging event in June.

The initiative is being run by Oxford Innovation on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, and aims to generate jobs, encourage entrepreneurism and boost the local economy.

The dedicated and interactive website - - will act as a one stop shop for people seeking guidance on starting a business with informative videos, downloadable fact sheets, financial tools and video interviews with a host of business leaders who share top tips and the secrets to their success.

Alex Weston of Matilsa Platforms based in Mansfield, winner of the previous Spark business idea competition, said: “Spark Notts offered me and my business concept an invaluable experience. I received first hand support from professional people from accounts to marketing, I had so many resources to work with and learn from. It was 100% worth being part of - I would not think twice working with Spark if you want to pursue your own business idea.”

Rachel Panther of Oxford Innovation, who heads up the Spark initiative said:

“We’re incredibly excited to be bringing the Spark initiative back to Nottinghamshire. Spark is for anyone with a business idea that requires support and resources to get it off the ground” explained Rachel. “Deciding to start a business is a big decision; so Spark also aims to provide a platform from which to test the commercial viability before taking the plunge.”

“The competition will be a fitting finale and enable us to identify the district’s most exciting and potential entrepreneurs in order to target extra support and resources to facilitate their success.

“We do encourage anyone looking for this type of support to engage with Spark right now so we can really offer the maximum value to plans.”

Councillor Roy Allan, Vice Chair of Economic Development at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “The return of Spark Nottinghamshire will be a great asset to the local business community and economy.

“Nottinghamshire County Council is dedicated to providing opportunities for our businesses to grow and for jobs to be created and Spark will enable local people turn raw potential into refined, successful business.”

To lend your support, to sponsor or to find out more about Spark, log on to the newly launched website