NatWest launches Expert in Residence SME programme
NatWest has today launched its Expert in Residence programme across the UK, dedicating 28 roles based in branches and communities to help female entrepreneurs realise their growth ambitions, following a successful two year pilot of the programme in the Solent and South East regions of England. The initiative is launched in conjunction with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
The 28 Expert in Residence roles will be based in NatWest branches, in growth hubs and in their wider community, and will be available to host events, provide expert insight and advice on business finance, and support their LEP to access additional expertise to help female-led businesses achieve their potential. These roles will also support with lending and banking services in partnership with specialists from the bank.
Expert in Residence is the latest action taken by the bank following the Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, which was launched in 2019 and co-authored by NatWest’s CEO Alison Rose. The review demonstrated that up to £250 billion of new value (equivalent to 1 SME million businesses) could be added to the UK economy, if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as UK men.
The review proposed eight key initiatives that would help change the UKs female business environment for the better, and found that a key enabler is access to local, trusted and relatable expertise. Expert in Residence aims to offer that enabler, as well as providing the improved access to finance that will allow female entrepreneurs to grow their business further. In addition to the Experts in Residence, NatWest also have over 800 Women in Business specialists amongst their frontline teams, accredited by the Chartered Banker Institute and certified by Everywoman. These specialists offer bespoke mentoring, networking and professional business advice to women-led and owned SMEs.
Alison Rose, CEO, NatWest Group said:
“Since the launch of the Rose Review in 2019, strong progress has been made in breaking-down barriers facing female entrepreneurs, with considerable commitment and action across financial services and the wider business landscape. Yet there is more to do and, post-pandemic, support which is practical, face-to-face, and tailored to local communities, will be critical in enabling entrepreneurs to rebuild and thrive.
We are delighted to be working with BEIS and the LEP Network to roll out NatWest’s Expert in Residence programme across the UK, and I encourage businesses to reach out to their local Expert in Residence via their LEP or Growth hub in order to advantage of what they can offer – alongside the wider package of support available.”
Small Business Minister Paul Scully said:
“Dynamic entrepreneurs need dedicated support that matches their energy and expertise, and the Expert in Residence programme provides just that, tailored to women business owners.
“This government is backing entrepreneurship across the UK through programmes including Expert in Residence, the Help to Grow schemes, the Peer Networks programme and Start Up Loans to create jobs, boost growth and help us build back better.”
Mark Livesey, Chief Executive, LEP Network said:
“We are pleased to be supporting the roll out of the Expert in Residence programme across the country following the success of the pilot programme with Local Enterprise Partnerships. We are committed to realising the untapped potential of female entrepreneurs across every LEP area in the country. One of the keys to the success of the programme is the role of LEP Growth Hubs in understanding the barriers that prevent women-led businesses from applying for grant funding and reaching out for support. LEPs are uniquely placed to help overcome this and will prove a key driver of its future success.”
NatWest’s Expert in Residence programme is provided at no cost to the LEP, Growth hubs or to any participating entrepreneur. Further information can be found by contacting your LEP or Growth Hub.
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