The UK's NatWest is launching four specialist fintech accelerators based in its Bristol, Edinburgh, London and Manchester sites.
NatWest is partnering with Dell EMC to offer regular technology reviews and sales strategy analysis to startups joining the hubs. The bank says that it has the capacity to support up to 80 early-stage firms, who will be assigned a technology team mentor, have the opportunity to pitch to the bank’s Innovation Scouting Team and be introduced to key contacts at the Department of Industry and Trade.
A 6-to-18 month programme for entrepreneurs with high growth prospects, businesses accepted onto the course will also receive free office space and access to the bank’s networks and supply chains.
The dedicated fintech hubs form a part of a wider programme by NatWest to boost entrepreneurship across its network. The bank has set a target of supporting 5,000 entrepreneurs in 2018.
The startup package comes just a week after 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.
Alison Rose, CEO of commercial and private banking at NatWest, says: "By 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.”