The NatWest bank has announced it is accepting applications from businesses with growth ambitions to join its in-house Entrepreneur Accelerator programme, where they will be given access to funding amongst other benefits.
Businesses on the programme are provided with free office space in one of the bank’s 12 hubs around the UK, with the programme providing focussed support on the recognised barriers that entrepreneurs face, including access to funding, new markets, infrastructure, leadership and coaching.
According to a spokesman for NatWest, the programme has supported more than 15,000 entrepreneurs to date, creating almost 1,300 jobs and contributing more than £103 million to the economy. Moreover, almost half of the businesses supported are female-led.
Meanwhile, funding for entrepreneurs is on the list of policy changes called for by the Startup Manifesto, put together by the Entrepreneurs Network with Coadec and backed by more than 250 founders of some of the UK’s fastest-growing businesses.
One of the policies the Manifesto calls for is for Innovate UK to pilot a lottery-based based funding system for grant applications above a certain threshold. Currently, the cumulative cost of applications for a grant could be a sizeable amount of the grant award. For example, 10 applicants spending 2.5 per cent each on an application adds up to 25 per cent of the award.
The Manifesto suggests that funding could be assigned by lottery, which would attract more innovative firms that are currently deterred by the bureaucracy and cost of applying.
Nigel Fry, General Practice Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “It is good to see that banking institutions are offering greater support to small businesses and start-ups beyond just the offer of finance. Starting a new enterprise can be challenging and so any help that can be provided can make a significant difference.
“If you would like assistance financing your business, why not speak to our team today.”