UK banking group NatWest announced on Thursday the relaunch of its Enterprise program to boost support for scale-up businesses along with climate, fintech, and B-Corp-focused businesses. NatWest revealed that 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, if addressed, could help unlock £140bn of economic growth by 2030.
“Throughout its network of accelerator hubs across the UK, NatWest will support over 1,400 businesses at different stages of growth through the programme, with a particular focus on scale ups – businesses that grow their turnover or employment by more than 20% each year.”
NatWest also reported it now commits at least 25% of space on the program to climate-focused businesses whose main objective relates to environmentally sustainable practices, building on its sponsorship of the forthcoming UN COP26 climate summit, to be held in Glasgow in November 2021. The bank has also created 50 roles based around the country to ensure these businesses are given appropriate, tailored support.
Speaking about the relaunch, Andrew Harrison, Head of Business Banking and Entrepreneurship at NatWest, stated:
“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.”
NatWes further revealed it is committing to supporting 35,000 entrepreneurs through its Enterprise programs in 2021, and a further 200,000 interventions with future entrepreneurs through mentoring, webinars, and coaching. To date, the bank’s initiatives have created nearly 1,300 jobs and contributed in excess of £103million to the UK economy – with nearly half of all businesses supported since launch female-led.
The banking group then added that the free program is open to applications for all UK SMEs for businesses that will join the program in June.