By Daniel Hunter

Entrepreneurial Spark, the world’s largest free business accelerator for early stage and growing ventures, has announced plans to launch a series “hatcheries” in India to support the country’s budding entrepreneurs, in partnership with Viridian.

Expanding outside of the UK for the first time, Entrepreneurial Spark, which has been named the most active accelerator in Europe, having accelerated 352 start-ups in 2014, will open a string of centres across India to support a growing culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and to help young businesses to create thousands of jobs. The Indian accelerator programme is a joint venture with Viridian, and will be known as Entrepreneurial Spark — Powered by Viridian.

The expansion will see Entrepreneurial Spark’s offer of office space and support rolled out to a much larger pool of potential entrepreneurs, and has the capacity to have a huge positive social and economic effect.

Entrepreneurial Spark co-founder and chief executive Jim Duffy said: “We build people who build businesses, and that has a huge positive knock-on effect in terms of innovation, job creation and economic growth.

“We have chosen India as our first overseas expansion because of the huge potential there for entrepreneurship to make a difference. There is a growing entrepreneurial spirit in India, with a young, large and skilled population making the country uniquely placed to foster new business creation. But this raw material, or potential, is not matched with the means to make it happen. This joint venture does — it presents a clear and documented structure with a track record.

“The vision is to create India’s most successful accelerator and be the ‘go to’ for entrepreneurs.”

Vijay Raghavan, CEO, Viridian said: “The demographics of our country demand more than a million jobs to be created every month in the next decade. Our country hence needs more new entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. Currently there are large gaps in the support systems for entrepreneurs. While Indian entrepreneurs are second to none in the world, some aspects of entrepreneurship skills also need to be improved if we are to expect a larger share of the global venture capital. The Viridian Group is keen to address these gaps and support in building the entrepreneurship eco system of India. We are hence bringing one of the world’s best accelerator programs to India.

“We sincerely believe that this tried, tested and highly respected platform can make a significant difference to Indian entrepreneurs. We look forward to working with numerous other organizations and industry seniors in this space to create real value to our entrepreneurs.”