Read more about our ambition to be a leading bank in the UK helping to address the climate challenge.
Enterprise is the cornerstone of success and the lifeblood stimulating economic growth of the wider UK economy. As a purpose-led bank, we want to remove barriers to enterprise and champion anyone starting or growing a business. However, we know that, for many, this remains harder than it should be.
As a purpose-led bank, our ambition is to help businesses to thrive and to become the biggest supporter of start-ups in the UK. In 2022, we supported 53,000(*) individuals and businesses through 269,000(*) interventions to start, run or grow a business. We engaged 48,000(*) young adults in enterprise and entrepreneurship activity.
In 2022, we supported 1,300 entrepreneurs through the NatWest Group Accelerator programme, of which 50% were female-led businesses. We expanded our footprint to 13 Enterprise Hubs across the UK to further enhance local and regional ecosystems and networks, and provide modern co-working space for entrepreneurs. During 2022, we continued to deliver our Accelerator Programme through in-person and virtual coaching sessions, workshops, thought-leadership, and events. Further details of these and other activities can be found in our 2022 ESG Disclosures Report (PDF 9.6MB).
(*) Within the scope of EY assurance.
In February 2022, Alison Rose DBE, the Chief Executive Officer of NatWest Group, and Paul Scully MP, then Minister for Small Business, published the third Rose Review Progress Report.
The 2022 progress report demonstrated the exceptional resilience of female entrepreneurs throughout the pandemic. The initial Rose Review, published in 2019, highlighted that if women in the UK started and scaled businesses at the same rate as men, it would have the potential to add £250 billion to the UK economy. The 2022 report showed that since 2019 more women than ever are starting new companies, outstripping growth in male-led firms for the first time.
In June 2022, the second Investing in Women Code report was published. There are now over 160 signatories to the code which demonstrates financial services firms’ commitment to improve female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance, a 50% increase compared to 2021.
Also in 2022, as part of the Women Angel Investment Taskforce, we established Women Backing Women – an angel investor campaign to support women to become business angels and give female founders across the UK access to early-stage investment.
As a bank, we have over 1,000 independently accredited Women in Business specialists. These specialists recognise that women often benefit from a different approach to banking and building relationships, and can provide tailored support, expertise and access to finance for female entrepreneurs facing barriers to starting or growing a business.
Taskforce boards that meet on regularly across key regions and discuss the challenges impacting UK SMEs, including COVID-19 and Cost of Living. The boards work in collaboration with both public and private organisations, not only to share knowledge but also to help us to find effective solutions and support available for UK SMEs.
For more information on removing barriers to enterprise, please see our 2022 ESG Disclosures Report (PDF 9.6MB).