Founder and Chief Executive Optimist, Entrepreneurial Spark
Former policeman Jim spent 11 years with Strathclyde Police, gaining a number of honours including a Chief Constable's High Commendation and making the rank of Sergeant before he decided to try his hand at business. He set up three franchises in his home town of Glasgow before a Saltire Fellowship took him to Babson College near Boston, where he studied all aspects of business and entrepreneurship and took part in placements with US corporates and exciting start-ups.
Returning to the UK with a zeal for enterprise, Jim set up Entrepreneurial Spark in 2011 to promote business start-ups and help them grow. The venture has enjoyed the backing of leading Scottish business figures such as Lord Willie Haughey, Sir Tom Hunter and Ann Gloag OBE, as well as the likes of Royal Bank of Scotland and KPMG.
Following on from the huge success over their initial three Hatcheries in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ayrshire, the world’s largest free business accelerator scheme now operates in Birmingham and, after launches over the last few months, in Bristol, Brighton and Leeds. A further five UK locations have just been announced in London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle and Cardiff and will launch over the next 18 months.
In June 2015, Entrepreneurial Spark® - Powered by Viridian was announced as the organisation’s first international joint venture accelerator. Entrepreneurial Spark’s vision is to develop an entrepreneurial revival across the world.