NatWest unleashes four fintech accelerators
NatWest is launching four fintech accelerators in the UK based in its Bristol, Edinburgh, London and Manchester hubs.
The bank says up to 80 businesses will get the support of Dell EMC and law firm Pinsent Masons through technology reviews and sales strategy analysis.
Entrepreneurs will also be assigned a technology team mentor, can pitch to the bank’s innovation scouting team, and get introduced to contacts at the Department of Industry and Trade (DTI).
This development follows on from earlier this month, when NatWest 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. NatWest says this network can support 1,000 entrepreneurs simultaneously.
Alison Rose, CEO of commercial and private banking at NatWest, says: “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.”
Rose adds that by bringing its accelerator network in-house, it can “dramatically increase the number of entrepreneurs we’re able to support”.
To reach its target of supporting 5,000 entrepreneurs in 2018, NatWest has created two distinct packages.
The acceleration programme is a six to 18-month programme. Run simultaneously in each of its hub cities, attendees get an introductory immersion day, online learning materials, webinars, digital “nutshells” and a celebratory awards event to conclude.
Its pre-acceleration “digital-led” version is for 12 weeks and for up to 50 start-ups. This is a “transferable and scalable proposition” as the bank can offer it in cities where there isn’t currently a hub.
In addition to the four hubs above, the others are in Birmingham, Brighton, Milton Keynes and Newcastle. Hubs in Edinburgh and Glasgow will be Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) entrepreneur accelerators, while the Belfast hub will be known as the Ulster Bank entrepreneur accelerator.
Support is fully funded with “no strings attached”. The bank says it doesn’t take equity or a stake in the businesses, and users don’t need to be NatWest, RBS or Ulster Bank customers.