Telling our story of building a more sustainable bank through the successes and experiences of our customers.
Imagine being able to supply power to 450,000 homes with just wind. Imagine no more…
We continue to play a key role in the transition to a low carbon economy by helping our customers to mitigate their emissions, save energy and reduce costs.
We have over 25 years experience in helping our customers to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. According to InfraDeals, RBS has been the leading lender to the UK renewables sector by number of transactions over the past five years (2012-2016). During 2016 RBS took a lead role in financing the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm, located 13.5km from the Caithness Coast.
This wind farm projected to power approximately 450,000 homes (around three times the number of homes in the Moray and Highland region). It was one of the first eight UK projects to be awarded an Investment Contract under the Contract for Difference feed in tariff. It will contribute £680m in the construction phase to the economy through supply chain opportunities and employment. It is estimated to have an on-going £400-525 million impact on the economy over the windfarm’s 25 year operational life.
An integrated approach was delivered by RBS through close collaboration between teams highlighting the breadth, strength and market leadership of the RBS franchise and ensuring a successful outcome for our customer.
"It all started by selling at local farmers’ markets and shops just a few years ago. From there, and with the support of the bank, we’ve built something special"
Lynn Mann and her husband Chris are founders of Supernature. Since 1852, their family have been tenant farmers at Carrington Barns Farm. “We were looking for a new business idea, and Chris mentioned cold pressed rapeseed oil, and how it was healthier than olive oil,” she recalls. Lynn was soon smitten with the idea of tapping into the growing rapeseed oil market, and Supernature was born. “It all started by selling at local farmers’ markets and shops just a few years ago. From there, and with the support of the bank, we’ve built something special.”
As a bank customer, Lynn found out about our partnership with the free business accelerator Entrepreneurial Spark. The hubs are based in the bank’s buildings across the UK and provide office space, resource and support– all free of charge. “The bank helped me beyond just traditional banking facilities. I joined their Entrepreneurial Spark programme and learned a huge amount about scaling-up a business and being an entrepreneur. I also tapped into the bank’s networks and connections which are just as important as funding for a start-up.”
As well as gaining business mentoring and advice, Supernature has also benefitted from access to funding indirectly supplied by the bank including £38,000 from the Scottish EDGE fund which was set up and funded by the bank. This helped them buy a second oil press and doubled their output.
Supernature now has more national awards than any other UK producer of cold pressed rapeseed oil and has received various glowing testimonials from Michelin-starred chefs. Their products, made on their small family farm, can now be found in Harrods and as far afield as a supermarkets in Borneo, Hong Kong and Qatar.
Watch a short video to learn more about a superfood harvested by hand from our shores in Scotland. Fiona Houston, Founder and CEO talks about starting the business and future plans.
"It all started after I had children," says Mel Bound, founder of fast-growing women's running community This Mum Runs.
Since its October 2014 launch, more than 2,300 mums from in and around Bristol and Bath have signed up. Everyone, from beginners to marathon runners, is catered for. But it started with a simple shout-out on Facebook for a running buddy; someone who’d run with her after the kids were in bed.
Within two months, the community had grown to 400 people. England Athletics took notice, and agreed to fund the training of some mums to be running coaches. “The first 15 we trained we called Run Makers. Sixty were funded by the end of April 2016. Then we organised couch-to-5K programmes that people paid to go on.”
Sliding doors moment
That’s when it began to transform into a business. It’s also when it started to get really tough for Mel. “It nearly broke me,” she says. “It was really intense and non-stop.”
Then, while feeding her little boy in the middle of the night, an ad for Entrepreneurial Spark popped into her social media feed. “That was my Eureka moment,” she remembers. “I thought that if I got this thing up and running I’d leave my job and do it full-time. So I applied to Entrepreneurial Spark – who work in partnership with RBS – and, just two weeks later, total serendipity: I was offered voluntary redundancy at work. It was a real sliding doors moment. I got my Entrepreneurial Spark place and we went zero to 100mph overnight.”
The hard work is paying off, as we grow, we’ll look at other ways of making money, like sponsorship and public funding. And by scaling and rolling out nationally, we’ll have a big community of women and lots of insights into behaviours, the triggers to exercise and the obstacles.
This Mum Runs is now trademarked, has recently been rebranded and has a range of merchandise in the pipeline.
Life-changing moments can often be comically trivial at the time, only gaining special significance when you look back at them.
Take lawyer Sharon Amesu. Thinking she was attending a guitar lesson, Sharon found herself in the wrong class, which turned out to be a life coaching programme. She decided to stay and join the discussion. “Not a natural reflector, I was immediately taken out of my comfort zone and began to reassess my life priorities,” she remembers. “I found myself reflecting deeply on what was important to me and how I wanted to contribute in this world.”
Sharon began putting on courses to help women achieve their goals. She set up a hub for women to network and be inspired, which quickly attracted 50 attendees per session. It became so successful that Sharon decided to give up practising law altogether and focus her energies on growing a mentoring business.
“I started to deliver courses for women from different sections of society: confidence building programmes for disadvantaged groups and motivational programmes for those on the corporate side. A teacher on one of them asked if I’d be interested in delivering motivational coaching to staff at her local school. I did, and it went incredibly well. I did another course for parents. Now I’m running a programme in schools to build partnerships between parents and the education system.”
Sharon got a place on the start-up accelerator programme at Entrepreneurial Spark in Manchester in February 2016. “It was also a fantastically creative space to get to know, and network with, other aspirational and passionate people,” she says. “There was a real buzz and an immediate sense that I could be part of something quite special and significant.”
Sharon was frustrated by the view that anyone who returns to work before their child is two are failed mothers, while those who don’t return before three weeks are failed professionals. She thought ‘surely it’s about making empowered choices that are right for your family?’. Giving women that confidence to make those choices is what drives her business.