FOOTBALL tourism company Trans World Soccer, which gives school groups and youth clubs the chance to experience life as a superstar player, is poised to net a jump in sales after setting up operations in Spain and the US.
The Edinburgh-based firm, backed by the Entrepreneurial Spark (ESpark) accelerator programme, launched its first overseas branch in Dubai last year and has also agreed a deal with Puma that will see the sportswear giant kit out the young players taking part.
As well as stadium tours in the UK, Dubai, Spain and US, Trans World Soccer provides coaching and organises matches against local school teams, and has a camera crew on hand to record the action.
With turnover passing the £1 million mark this year, and a strong pipeline of orders for its new ventures in Florida and Spain, Trans World Soccer is expected to generate sales of about £2.5m next year.
The business, founded by Andrew Cook and Scott Macfarlane, was one of the first intake of ESpark “chiclets” in early 2013. Macfarlane, the firm’s director for the UK, said it was “hard to put into words” how much support it has received from the programme.
He said: “We came here two years ago as two guys still working our day jobs and now we have full-time staff on the payroll in four countries.
“They have helped us with pitching – I think we are investment-ready even though we aren’t seeking any right now – and have made sure we are always challenging ourselves and working outside our comfort zone.”
ESpark, in partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and KPMG, has seven “hatcheries” across the UK and Macfarlane said he was keen to provide support and encouragement for other start-ups joining the free programme.
“It’s wonderful to see just how far some of our first intake have come,” said Jim Duffy, the founder and chief executive of ESpark.
“The entrepreneurs behind Trans World Soccer have ventured fearlessly into new markets and are a great example of the ‘go do’ attitude we look for and nurture.”