NatWest is bolstering its support for UK-based SMEs by relaunching its Enterprise programme as the bank looks to boost business recovery across the country.
Aimed at climate-focused entrepreneurs, fintechs and B-Corp focused ventures, the Enterprise programme aims to help transform more SMEs into so-called ‘scale-ups’, as well as encouraging those with a clear vision on sustainability.
The bank has previously built up a network of accelerator hubs across the UK designed to help speed up growth. NatWest says it plans to offer support for up to 1400 businesses as the revised programme format gets a fresh start in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Central to the plan is helping business grow, or ‘scale-up’ their operations and encourage sustainability. The bank says its plan could help unlock £140bn of economic growth by the year 2030. The move also compliments NatWest’s sponsorship of the forthcoming UN COP26 climate summit, which is due to take place in Glasgow during November. The bank has created 50 roles around the country to support the task in hand.
Like many other operations affected by the pandemic, NatWest has shifted much of its Enterprise programme activity to a virtual model. The scheme offers a variety of coaching sessions, virtual events and also delivers one-to-one support for entrepreneurs.
The bank has also developed other schemes, all designed to nurture new talent including a Business Builder programme along with Dream Bigger. The latter has an educational focus aimed at encouraging 16 to 18-year-olds with their entrepreneurial dreams.
Andrew Harrison, Head of Business Banking and Entrepreneurship, NatWest said: “The findings of our recent Springboard to Recovery report showed that scale-ups will be crucial to UK economic recovery post Covid-19. Scale-ups are 50% more productive than other SMEs, but at present only 2.5% of all businesses fall into the scale-up category. That’s why we’re relaunching our Enterprise programme to help more SMEs reach this next level of growth and productivity.
Combined with increased representation and support for female and BAME led businesses throughout our new cohort – which we aim to ensure are at least 60% and 20% respectively – and a focus on businesses with sustainability and purpose at their core, we’re excited to be opening our doors again to support the next generation of business success stories.”
Interested businesses can apply to join the June cohort at the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator site.