NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator to support 5,000 entrepreneurs during 2018

The bank will also open four specialist fintech accelerators in Bristol, Edinburgh, London and Manchester - which will house up to 80 start-ups

NatWest has announced plans to support 5,000 entrepreneurs during 2018, through its Entrepreneur Accelerator.

The largest free business accelerator in the UK, with 12 hubs across the country, resident businesses receive mentoring and coaching that aims to help them grow and scale at a faster rate than normal.

All support provided to start-ups is fully-funded with “no strings attached”, as business owners don’t need to offer equity to join or even be a NatWest customer.

Partnering with Dell EMC and Pinsent Masons, the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator has two growth packages which businesses can choose from:

Acceleration: A six to 18 month programme for entrepreneurs with high growth businesses looking to scale up. Designed to ensure that businesses get the best chance to succeed, entrepreneurs receive free office space, free WiFi, free business advice and mentoring, bespoke coaching, and access to the bank’s networks and supply chains.

Pre-Acceleration: An intensive 12-week programme for up to 50 early stage start ups, the pre-acceleration programme is run simultaneously in each of NatWest’s hub cities. Resident entrepreneurs benefit from an introductory immersion day, online learning materials, webinars, digital ‘nutshells’ and a concluding celebratory awards event. The programme is complemented by a variety of events, run by the bank’s Business Growth Enablers as well as the bank’s local partners.

Adding to its new accelerator, the bank will also open four specialist fintech accelerators in Bristol, Edinburgh, London and Manchester – which will house up to 80 start-ups

Earlier this month, it announced that it had come to an agreement with Entrepreneurial Spark to transfer its network of 12 entrepreneur accelerator hubs to be 100% managed by the bank.

To date, NatWest says its helped nearly 4,000 entrepreneurs through its various accelerators – with resident start-ups having raised £255m in cumulative investment and created over 8,000 jobs.

NatWest further claimed that businesses supported within its hubs had a one-year survival rate of 87%, compared to the national average of 50%.

Alison Rose, CEO of commercial and private banking at NatWest, said:

“As the UK’s biggest supporter of small business, we understand that helping businesses succeed, not just through traditional lending but with full wraparound care, connectivity and know-how, is crucial if we want a strong economy.

“The comprehensive programme of mentoring, insight and bespoke coaching that we have developed over the past three years has revolutionised the way we support entrepreneurs, and is really working.

“By building on this success and bringing the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator network in-house, we can dramatically increase the number of entrepreneurs we’re able to support.

“We also want our staff to develop entrepreneurial mindsets to help them think differently and to problem solve in the same way business owners have to do on a daily basis.

“We have set ambitious targets for the bank’s unique Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs-accredited Entrepreneurial Development Academy. To date, more than 6,000 people have volunteered and by the end of the year we anticipate over 8,500 employees will have joined the course, with a quarter of them achieving external accreditations.”