Ricoh to invest into the booming UK tech start - up scene with new ‘Big Ignite’ initiative
IT services company helps start-up businesses to accelerate and excel with a range of services and advice programmes
April 25th 2016, Northampton, UK - Global technology company, Ricoh, has unveiled a new business accelerator programme called ‘Ricoh BIG Ignite’. This has been designed to support Northampton start-ups in their first year of operation.
This new initiative will also connect entrepreneurs with expert mentors from across Ricoh’s business who will provide help and advice about everything from running a scalable company, to product marketing and accountancy. All start-ups on the programme will receive one lead mentor for the whole year, along with ‘flash mentors’ who will support them in a particular business area over 1-3 separate sessions.
This new business accelerator programme is targeted at the Northampton area specifically. In recent months, Northampton’s start-up scene has seen impressive growth, and boasts the highest per capita start-up rate in the UK – second only to London. There are now more than 80 start-ups for every 10,000 people, and the town also has the second strongest employment rate in the UK as of June 2015.
Ricoh BIG Ignite already has 10 registered companies – three of which were founded as part of Ricoh’s Charity partner, The Prince’s Trust’s, Enterprise programme. The diverse list includes a company creating strategic network solutions, another developing electronic point of sale infrastructure, and another that is working to prevent crime against businesses. Further businesses will be welcomed on to the programme throughout the coming year.
Rick Hewitt, finance director, Ricoh UK commented, “We are proud to invest in a project that will inspire and support some of the brightest business talent that Northampton, and indeed the UK, has to offer. The start- up scene is one that presents many exciting opportunities and challenges and Ricoh wants to continue to help support these new organisations on the start of their business journey.
By nurturing new skills and talent, we hope this will have a knock on effect on the number of new businesses coming through in the local area, boosting what is already a very healthy and thriving start-up environment.
As a big business with around 2,500 staff, we hope that the Ricoh BIG Ignite Programme will deliver multiple benefits to our employees, by connecting them with the next generation of creative entrepreneurs. Ricoh can learn from the agility and flexibility that forms the lifeblood of a start- up business. It is new skills and new ideas that will keep British businesses competitive, innovative and successful for years to come.”
Alec Wadey founder of Ding Dong Diary, which is a company registered on the Ignite programme, said: “I founded Ding Dong Diary two years ago with big plans, but not a clear idea of how to achieve them. After steering the company through many high and lows during that time, I have come to appreciate that all small companies can benefit from the support and guidance provided by business accelerators.
“There are a number of accelerators based in London and Manchester but Ricoh BIG Ignite is the first one to launch in Northamptonshire. Working with such a large, well-established organisation such as Ricoh over the next year will provide us with the opportunity to grow and develop – not only as a company, but also as individuals.
“I am looking forward to brainstorming new concepts and ideas with Ricoh’s expert team, and applying these valuable lessons to improve our business.”
The Ricoh BIG Ignite programme is being delivered in partnership with award-winning accelerator, 50th Generation.