Ulster Bank has announced that it is to house the renowned Entrepreneur Accelerator hub in its main headquarters.
The move will provide even better access for entrepreneurs to the expertise and networks offered as part of the fully-funded programme and ramp up Ulster Bank’s support for entrepreneurship.
Work has been ongoing for several weeks on the £400,000 programme to transform the 1st floor of the bank’s iconic building in Donegall Square East into a specially adapted co-working space which will house the current intake of 72 entrepreneurs.
The new base will provide a mix of work and relaxation spaces with dedicated meeting zones and private areas for those wishing to host events in the area. Incorporating feedback from the previous cohorts of entrepreneurs, the fit out of the accelerator has been designed to create a contemporary, fit-for-purpose workspace.
Ulster Bank’s entrepreneurship team, the only one of its type in a Northern Ireland bank, will continue to oversee the hub, led by Regional Director of Entrepreneurship, Lynsey Cunningham. Lynsey explained it was an exciting time for the programme and a welcome opportunity for growing businesses to learn from industry leaders within the bank.
“Our investment in the new space is a natural progression of the Accelerator programme and demonstrates our continued commitment to developing even closer working relationships between entrepreneurs and Ulster Bank – with no cost for those that are successful in securing a place on the programme. By creating a bespoke environment for entrepreneurs inside the bank’s own premises, our current intake will have access to an even wider network of experienced and knowledgeable mentors.”
Echoing these thoughts, Ulster Bank’s Head of Northern Ireland, Richard Donnan said the move would provide an entrepreneurial boost for the bank’s wider teams.
“This is a fantastic time for the entrepreneurs on the Accelerator programme who will have cutting-edge work space with top of the range facilities to call their own. But it also presents a great opportunity for the bank as a whole.
“We want to work collaboratively with the Accelerator programme to create a more entrepreneurial culture throughout our broader business teams. Building on our internal Entrepreneurial Development Academy, this in-house facility will help us as we continue to embed an innovative and dynamic culture.”
Since launching in 2016, the Accelerator programme has supported more than 350 businesses access the support, funding and advice they need to either start-up or scale-up. Those enrolled on the programme are given expert mentorship from Ulster Bank’s specialist entrepreneurship team, enabling them to overcome the many challenges associated with starting and growing a business.
Ulster Bank will be showcasing the new entrepreneurial hub at a special Christmas Market on 13th December where current participants and alumni of the programme will exhibit their wares. Among those companies expected to attend are Newcastle gelato producers, Nugelato; social enterprise firm, Mad Lug and snack-food merchant, Noisy Nuts.