Global Entrepreneurship Week, I think everyone will agree, was a great success a couple of weeks ago. But even beyond this, support for entrepreneurs has been gathering pace for some time now which has been truly fantastic to see and be a part of.
I am delighted to have been announced as the 'Head of Entrepreneurship RBS and NatWest' last week, and my first day in post is officially today. My appointment comes as we open the 75,000th start up account this year, already ahead of the total number of start-up accounts opened in 2013.
When you think about this, and the fact that we have supported over 68,000 entrepreneurs through 1,700 events this year alone, it is clear that supporting entrepreneurs and growing businesses is firmly on the agenda at RBS.
Alison Rose (CEO Commercial & Private Banking) announced the new enterprise strategy back in September which signalled a step-change in how the bank supports entrepreneurial talent across the UK. Both Alison and Les Matheson (CEO Personal & Business Banking) have stated that our entrepreneurial strategy will be the most important thing we do in the next 5 years to re-earn the trust of our customers.
Over the next two years, eight new business accelerator hubs across the UK will be established. This multi million pound support for thousands of entrepreneurs from any sector, kicks off in February with the launch of the first enterprise hub in Birmingham. These will utilise RBS workspace, hands-on mentoring, a start-up ‘boot camp’ and a programme of advice, support and funding clinics.
I will be leading the bank's new enterprise strategy and this will include working with local business leaders, staff and partners to launch, engage and facilitate the hubs, delivering the best of RBS and NatWest to entrepreneurs in the UK.
I will also be working on a development programme for our RMs across Commercial and Private and Business Banking to educate our People on the mindsets and behaviours of entrepreneurs as well as overseeing the development of analytics which we will use to identify high growth businesses to ensure appropriate support is being offered.
In my mind, this new role highlights just how seriously we take our responsibility in supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the UK. I have enjoyed placing RBS at the heart of Scotland’s business eco-system through working with partners including Government, opinion formers and the media, as well as key ecosystem stakeholders such as Entrepreneurial Scotland and Entrepreneurial Spark.
As the new 'Head of Entrepreneurship' I am looking forward to taking my experience further afield, supporting the rest of the UK to benefit from; backing the businesses of tomorrow and helping ambitious entrepreneurs to get to the next level – which is good for them, good for us and ultimately good for the UK economy.