NatWest focuses on expanding scale-ups with relaunch of enterprise programme

Building on the publication of its Springboard to Recovery report, NatWest has confirmed the relaunch of its Enterprise programme to boost its support for scale-up businesses, as well as climate, fintech, and B-Corp focussed businesses.

Open to applications from all UK SMEs, the programme runs throughout its network of accelerator hubs across the UK, and NatWest will support over 1,400 businesses at different stages of growth through the programme.

As part of the growth, NatWest now also commits at least 25% of space on the programme to climate-focussed businesses whose main objective relates to environmentally sustainable practices, building on its sponsorship of the forthcoming UN COP26 climate summit, to be held in Glasgow in November.

Andrew Harrison, Head of Business Banking and Entrepreneurship, NatWest said: “The findings of our recent Springboard to Recovery report showed that scale-ups will be crucial to UK economic recovery post Covid-19. Scale-ups are 50% more productive than other SMEs, but at present only 2.5% of all businesses fall into the scale-up category. That’s why we’re relaunching our Enterprise programme to help more SMEs reach this next level of growth and productivity.

“Combined with increased representation and support for female and BAME led businesses throughout our new cohort – which we aim to ensure are at least 60% and 20% respectively – and a focus on businesses with sustainability and purpose at their core, we’re excited to be opening our doors again to support the next generation of business success stories.”

The relaunch follows recent findings from the bank’s report into SME recovery in the UK, which found that transforming a greater proportion of SMEs into ‘scale-ups’, and driving a shift towards sustainability were two priorities which, if addressed, could help unlock £140 billion of economic growth by 2030.

In addition, the bank has created 50 roles based around the country to ensure these businesses are given appropriate, tailored support. The new Local Enterprise Managers, Regional Ecosystem Managers and Entrepreneur Acceleration Managersseek to give businesses the guidance they need through expertise, coaching and networks that are relevant to their location and sector.