NatWest and RBS are to open a network of eight new business accelerator hubs offering free workspace, hands on mentoring, a start up 'bootcamp' and a free programme of up to 18-months of advice, support and funding clinics for budding entrepreneurs.
The initiative is in partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark, a business accelerator for early stage and growing ventures.
The hubs will be physical workspaces for up to 80 entrepreneurs selected to join the programme through a competitive application process, with each hub hosting two intakes every year. The first space will open in Birmingham in early 2015.
At the end of the programme each hub will host a 'graduation' event bringing together entrepreneurs, investors and business advisors for mentoring and networking sessions, giving the opportunity to the graduating businesses to pitch to potential investors. Growth awards' of up to £50,000 will also be offered to promising businesses in need of a cash injection.
Alison Rose, CEO of Commercial and Private Banking, says: "This is a step-change in how RBS and NatWest support entrepreneurial talent in the UK. By opening up our premises and providing them with support and a far reaching network of contacts, we are backing the businesses of tomorrow and helping ambitious entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level."