Harborough Innovation Centre grows bedroom business to global empire

A bedroom business started by a schoolboy is now turning over £1 million after being supported by a community of innovators and mentors in Market Harborough.

Will Prentice, 22, founded Elite Scooters as a teenager after identifying a gap in the market for designing and manufacturing superior-quality components for high performance scooters.

In 2014 he applied for and won a business support initiative organised by Oxford Innovation, which runs the Harborough Innovation Centre. As part of his prize, he was provided with a mentor and an office within the Centre.

Will was given vital support and guidance on the legal and financial aspects of the business and, four years on, he now employs a team of 30 professional riders around the world to represent his brand and hopes to double his turnover in the next 12 months.

Will said: “The support offered by Harborough Innovation Centre and Oxford Innovation has probably been the biggest and best I’ve received since starting my business. My mentor has helped me with bookkeeping, accounts and even assisted me to secure an agent in China.”

After years of hard work, he has now graduated from his Harborough Innovation Centre office to a larger space in the town.

Stuart Hartley, Innovation Director at the Harborough Innovation Centre, said: “We are hugely proud of what Will has achieved in a relatively small amount of time. He’s hugely inspirational and we were only too happy to provide him with the support and guidance he needed to help grow the business and take it to the next level.”

Will, who is very grateful for all the support he received from the organisation, said: “I would 100 per cent recommend the Harborough Innovation Centre to any ambitious start-up or small-to medium business enterprise (SME).

“The community is incredible – if you ever fall into a problem, somebody can help. There are so many businesses to bounce ideas off, and everyone is friendly and helpful. I can’t think of a better place to start a business.”

Will won the Spark Harborough Business Competition, which has since been superseded by Pioneer 10, an exciting, free business award and growth coaching programme for entrepreneurs in the area. Successful applicants receive exclusive mentoring, expert workshops, downloadable tools and support from a team of successful business leaders. The programme, that has so far helped dozens of new businesses, is set to be launched again later this year.