We know that starting a business isn’t  easy, and a number of barriers can stand in the way at any stage of the business life cycle. We deliver a range of activities - from essential banking services to added-value programmes and partnerships - which provide budding entrepreneurs and businesses with the support they need to take their ideas to the next level.

From 2012 to 2015, our flagship initiative was Inspiring Enterprise. By the end of 2015, Inspiring Enterprise had directly contributed to the creation of 2,173 new businesses across the UK, exceeding our initial targets by assisting 114,059 young people, 28,365 women and 5,349 social enterprises to develop their ideas and take their next steps on their enterprise journey. Following the conclusion of this initiative, we continue to deliver many of the successful activities.

  • Young People

    Prince's Trust

    Our long-term partnership with The Prince’s Trust has focussed on inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs since 2009. We have now renewed our partnership for a further 3 years.

    2015 highlights:

    • RBS donated over £1 million – part of a £3 million pledge over 3 years.
    • RBS employee volunteers supported 2,500 young people to move them towards employment, training, education or enterprise.
    • RBS staff volunteer to teach ‘Get Hired’ employability workshops.
    • 250 interns and 81 additional staff raised £218,151 for the programme

    Skills & Opportunities Fund

    Launched in May 2015, the Skills & Opportunities Fund offers £2.5 million each year to not-for-profit organisations, schools and state-funded colleges, helping people in disadvantaged communities to develop skills that will enable them to find employment or start a business.

    In 2015:

    • 1,800 organisations from across the UK & Ireland applied for funding.
    • 180 organisations went through to a public vote and 114 won grants of up to £35,000 each, and is estimated to benefit more than 26,000 people and create thousands of jobs.

    One of the beneficiaries was New Direction, for their programme supporting young Londoners aged 16 to 24 to find work in the creative industries. With the grant, Create Jobs will support 250 young East Londoners to develop the skills, confidence and knowledge to access creative careers. 

  • Start-ups

    Entrepreneurial Spark

    NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank are backing the businesses of tomorrow, helping ambitious entrepreneurs take their start-ups to the next level.

    2015 highlights:

    • 88% of companies we have worked with are still trading
    • £4.1m investment in partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark
    • Seven business accelerator hubs, offering free workspace, mentoring, a start-up ‘bootcamp’ and a free 18-month programme of advice, support and funding clinics for entrepreneurs and high growth businesses. In 2016, six more hubs will open in 2016 across the UK.
    • Over 1,000 entrepreneurs have been supported since 2014.
    • 1,816 jobs were created in 2015.
    • 900 RBS staff are currently in training with the Entrepreneurial Development Academy, helping them understand entrepreneurs’ needs.

    Innovation Gateway

    The Innovation Gateway gives innovators and SMEs the opportunity to trial innovative ideas for saving resources (energy, water and waste) in a live testing environment, helping them bring their products to market.

    2015 highlights:

    • The community now has 1,070 members, who help us crowdsource innovations to meet our environmental targets.
    • 46 SMEs tested products – from nanotechnology and thermal imaging to beehives and bird boxes – on RBS premises.
  • Women

    Women in Business

    NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank are committed to helping female entrepreneurs address the barriers preventing them starting and growing their businesses.

    In 2015:

    • We have 250 Women in Business Specialists, who provide mentoring and financial expertise.
    • Over 120 Women in Business events were delivered across the UK, attended by over 7,000 female entrepreneurs.

    Supporting female entrepreneurs

    In 2015:

    • NatWest sponsors the Everywoman Awards for female entrepreneurs, where nine of the 19 finalists were NatWest customers, and 3 won awards.
    • NatWest sponsored the 2015 Asian Women of Achievement Awards, recognising the most inspiring female Asian entrepreneurs across the UK.
    • We delivered 10 events in partnership with the National Black Women’s Network, supporting black and ethnic minority women starting their businesses.

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