Spark competition back to boost Harborough businesses

Mark Robinson of Market Harborough Building Society, Mick Judge of Oxford Innovation, Rachel Panther Oxford Innovation, James Briggs of Harborough Rubber Company, Nicola Denny of May Marketing, Blake Pain leader of Harborough District Council, Libby Langley of Zest Communications and Tim Sparrow of BBB Investments
Mark Robinson of Market Harborough Building Society, Mick Judge of Oxford Innovation, Rachel Panther Oxford Innovation, James Briggs of Harborough Rubber Company, Nicola Denny of May Marketing, Blake Pain leader of Harborough District Council, Libby Langley of Zest Communications and Tim Sparrow of BBB Investments

Bright sparks are being urged to enter a business contest with more than £25,000 worth of prizes up for grabs.

This month sees the return of a business support initiative designed to help business growth across the whole of the Harborough district.

Now in its second year, Spark Harborough District will offer businesses free support in the form of online tools, workshops and one-to-one coaching.

Oxford Innovation runs the initiative from Harborough Innovation Centre on behalf of Harborough District Council.

It aims to generate jobs, encourage entrepreneurism and boost the district’s economy.

Rachel Panther, of Oxford Innovation, who manages Spark on behalf of the council, said: “Spark is for anyone who runs, or dreams of running a business in the Harborough district. It is about sparking entrepreneurialism and business growth by bringing people with ideas, plans and ambition together with those who want to offer their experience, resources and expertise to help them get going.

“Spark aims to provide a platform from which to test the commercial viability before taking the plunge.”

Council leader Cllr Blake Pain said “The return of Spark will be a great asset to the local business community and economy.”

It will culminate in March 2015 with the launch of a business idea contest, offering an anticipated prize fund of over £25,000. There will be two categories; Best New Business Idea and Best Growth Idea.

The two winners will be selected at a Dragons’ Den-style event in July and they will receive ongoing business coaching and a share of the prize fund, which is already worth more than £13,000.

Got a bright idea?

If you are interested in getting involved as a prize sponsor or offering support, call the innovation centre on 01858 414260 or visit www.sparkharborough.com.