NatWest relaunches scale-up enterprise programme

NatWest is relaunching its enterprise programme to boost support for scale-up businesses including climate, FinTech, and B-Corp focussed businesses.

The programme is free to enter and open to applications from UK SMEs from 15 April, with the cohort set to start in June.

The relaunched programme will see NatWest support over 1,400 businesses at different stages of growth throughout its network of accelerator hubs across the UK.

This programme has a particular focus on scale ups - businesses that grow their turnover or employment by more than 20 per cent each year.

The banking group is also committing to at least 25 per cent of space on the programme to climate-focussed businesses whose main objective relates to environmentally sustainable practices.

The relaunch follows recent findings from the bank’s report into SME recovery in the UK, which found that transforming a greater proportion of SMEs into ‘scale-ups’, and driving a shift towards sustainability were two priorities which could help unlock £140bn of economic growth by 2030.

The programme is also aiming to increase representation and support for female and BAME led businesses throughout the cohort with an aim of ensuring at least 60 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

To support the programme, NatWest has created 50 roles based around the country to ensure these businesses are given tailored support.

The new local enterprise managers, regional ecosystem managers and entrepreneur acceleration managers will give businesses the guidance they need through expertise, coaching and networks that are relevant to their location and sector.

During the pandemic, the bank moved its Enterprise programme to a virtual model, offering coaching sessions, virtual events, and specialised support to entrepreneurs who would normally be based in the physical accelerator hubs.

Over the course of this year, the bank said it aims to support those on the programme through a blended model, resuming use of its hubs once coronavirus guidelines allow.

Andrew Harrison, head of business banking and entrepreneurship at NatWest said:“Scale-ups will be crucial to UK economic recovery post Covid-19.

"They are 50 per cent more productive than other SMEs, but at present only 2.5 per cent 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.”

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