A micro brewery set-up by two beekeepers from Chepstow, a sustainable fashion label from Pembrokeshire, and a social networking app for travellers started by an entrepreneur from North Wales are just some of the exciting Welsh businesses to join the latest intake at NatWest’s Entrepreneur Accelerator in Cardiff.
A record number of start-up and scale-up businesses from across the country applied to be a part of the six month programme, which began in the Welsh capital earlier this month, with over 150 local businesses shortlisted to a final cohort of 80.
They include social networking platform Alpacr, which helps people connect through travel. The company was launched by Dan Swygart from Denbighshire who is returning to the programme for a third time.
He said: “Our success so far has undoubtedly been down to the NatWest Accelerator. The support from the team and NatWest business growth enablers, and the incredible community of successful entrepreneurs there, creates a centralised hub for rapid growth and success.”
The accelerator takes in two cohorts of 80 entrepreneurs each year – one in April and one in October – with the programme open to entrepreneurs of any age and at any stage of their business, including those with higher turnovers. It provides successful applicants with coaching and support and office facilities at its One Central Square headquarters.
Since it opened in Cardiff in 2016, over 600 businesses – from Fintech firms to fashion brands – have been through the programme creating a significant number of jobs and raising millions of pounds in investment and funding through the scheme. Encouragingly, around 50% of 2018’s cohorts were female.
Siwan Rees, Entrepreneur Acceleration Manager, said: “We’re really excited about the latest intake of entrepreneurs from across Wales to our Entrepreneur Accelerator in Cardiff. The quality and diversity of businesses applying each year just gets better and better and this is testament to the vibrant entrepreneurial spirt that exists in Wales.
“The country is home to such a rich vein of entrepreneurial talent and the accelerator programmes play a vital role in ensuring these start-up and scale-up businesses get the opportunities and support they need to reach the very top. That is why more than 80% of businesses that join the accelerator are still operating after two years.”