The number of businesses supported as part of the Entrepreneurial Spark programme since its launch three years ago has hit 4,000, according to the accelerator's latest Impact Report.

Now operating in every region in the UK, Entrepreneurial Spark powered by NatWest is the world's largest free accelerator programme. The report revealed that the businesses supported by Entrepreneurial Spark have generated £651 million in turnover, raised £255m in investment, creating over 8,000 jobs in the process.

A mark of its success is its start-up survival rate. While just 50% of new businesses created in the UK fail, 87% of those that have gone through the Entrepreneurial Spark accelerator programme are still trading.

The Impact Report was published as it was announced Entrepreneurial Spark would be taken in-house by NatWest. The programme has been run jointly by the two organisations since its launch in 2014. In a statement, Entrepreneurial Spark said the move would "allow both organisations to realise their wider ambitions in the entrepreneurship and growth mindset spaces".

Lucy-Rose Walker, CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark, said: “Over the last three years we have been on a mission to impact the lives of as many entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs as possible in order to create positive social change. NatWest gave us the opportunity to do that on a scale that we couldn’t have imagined when we first began this adventure, by tapping into their resource and expertise to unlock markets and provide locations for hubs across all four nations of the UK."

“Now that we’ve completed the programme rollout, it’s a natural evolution for NatWest to run the accelerator now and continue the trajectory we’ve set. It seems only fitting that we’ve reached this agreement on the next chapter as we announce our most notable impact report to-date.”

Alison Rose, CEO of Commercial and Private Banking at NatWest said: “As the latest Impact Report clearly demonstrates, the comprehensive programme of free enablement, mentoring and bespoke coaching developed in partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark has revolutionised the way we support entrepreneurs, and is really working.

"We are committed to continuing this success, and through our UK-wide network of 12 business accelerator hubs, we will support and continue to change the lives of entrepreneurs by providing full wrap-around care to the UK’s most inspiring start-ups and high growth businesses. On behalf of everyone at NatWest, I want to thank Entrepreneurial Spark for the past three years in partnership and wish them every success with their future ambitions.”