Transform SY is a world class people accelerator that is being delivered by Entrepreneurial Spark, a leader in the entrepreneur support world. The programme will feature 3 cohorts of 20 businesses for 6 months each, and the first cohort of 18 companies will be support until June 2022.

Transform SY is a people accelerator because the focus of their support is on the entrepreneur as much as it is on the business. Unlocking the potential within the entrepreneurial leader is the key to startup success, so their programme develops mindsets and behaviours as well as business modelling and pitching skills. Transform SY helps founders achieve their goals through a combination of 1:1 enablement sessions, connections with relevant mentors and a community of contacts across the region.

Below you can meet the team that are bringing Transform SY to life.


Mike Stephens

Mike Stephens

TEAM Programme Manager

Mike is the CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark, a global accelerator for entrepreneurs. As well as leading a startup himself, Mike has worked directly with over 200 founders from different sectors, helping them to grow and lead great businesses. Since taking over Entrepreneurial Spark three years ago he has led the team to raise funding, launch internationally on three continents and deliver impact to thousands of entrepreneurs. Mike’s business passions include business model innovation and creativity, so with a background in banking he loves to talk numbers and explore ambitious ideas. Mike’s daughter thinks he’s funny but his son is old enough to know better, so Mike likes to escape for a walk in Ecclesall woods with his wife Lucy and their dog Willow. You can also find him running, mountain biking or playing tag rugby.

“Working as part of TEAM we have big ambitions to transform the entrepreneurial landscape in South Yorkshire. We want to encourage more people from all walks of life to think of being an entrepreneur as a viable path, and to create the conditions for that to happen. Our first cohort is a group of brilliant, diverse individuals from pre-start through to £5m in revenue, and they are already driving change – creating job opportunities and raising the profile of entrepreneurship. We have more to do to reach deep into the heart of communities and unearth potential founders, and I’m really excited about where that journey will take us and the impact we can have”

Denislav Ivanov

Denislav Ivanov

TEAM Community Manager

Denislav got involved with South Yorkshire’s startup ecosystem back in 2019 when he started organising the Startup Weekend Sheffield and since then has been involved with the development of the community by running regular Startup Meetup’s across South Yorkshire and hosting the ‘Sheaf Valley’ podcast where he invites local founders. For Transform SY, Denislav manages the marketing side and is in charge of building the internal and external community of entrepreneurs. 



“Building a sustainable and prosperous startup ecosystem is hard and the presence of TEAM SY is definitely making a difference in the region. Collaborative action has increased and the compounding effect of everything that’s being achieved will lead to transformational changes. I’m happy to be part of this project and contribute to South Yorkshire becoming a strong entrepreneurial hub.”

Transform SY are currently looking for mentors to support the businesses on their programme, if you are interested in becoming a mentor fill out this form.

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