The work the bank has been doing with Entrepreneurial Spark was judged to be the best in the ‘Innovation in supporting business or enterprise - business support’ category at the joint BBA and IFS’s Financial Innovation Awards 2015. RBS was up against high-profile opposition but the judging panel of academics and business leaders deemed its partnership to have had the biggest impact.
Gordon Merrylees, Head of Entrepreneurship, said: "Helping aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups and high-growth businesses achieve their goals is vital if we are to become the number one UK bank for customer service, trust and advocacy.
"This award is a fantastic achievement and something that everyone in the bank can feel proud of, and particularly those who work on the initiative. We were up against steep competition so winning the award really does demonstrate the excellent work we have done, in partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark, to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable businesses.”
Entrepreneurial Spark is the world’s largest free business accelerator for start-up, early stage and growing businesses. It encourages entrepreneurship though the development of the right mind-set and behaviours. More than 80% of businesses which have been through the Entrepreneurial Spark programme are still trading after a year. These businesses have created 1,000 jobs and have been awarded around 400 patents.
The bank has partnered with Entrepreneurial Spark for the last three years, providing financial support, premises (hubs), mentoring and access to networks. It is the only bank supporting this free business accelerator initiative on this scale.
In Scotland, RBS supportS hubs in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ayrshire. There are also more plans to open hubs in NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank buildings. The first of these opened in Birmingham in February, followed by Leeds, Bristol and Brighton in September. Further hubs will be opened in Manchester, Cardiff, Belfast and other cities during 2016.
RBS is also in the process of developing part of our Gogarburn headquarters which will become a centre for entrepreneurship and enterprise positioned next to its new Technology Solutions Centre.
If you are interested in applying to join the programme, applications for the February intake are open for all hatcheries as well as the new Gogarburn, Manchester and Belfast hubs. Find out more on the registration section of the Entrepreneurial Spark website.