Up to £1million in grants is up for grabs under a new scheme to help more women launch their own business.
NatWest is launching the Back Her Business campaign with established provider Crowdfunder as part of the bank’s wider ambition to reduce the gender gap when it comes to entrepreneurship.
Back Her Business, which launches on Monday 18 March, will enable women to register for the programme and prepare their business idea for crowdfunding.
The initiative will be developed UK-wide through NatWest in England and Wales, Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland and Royal Bank in Scotland.
Crowdfunder will provide the infrastructure and access to its wider network of partners and entrepreneurs, with the bank acting as a connector and enabler. Though most of the funding will come from ‘the crowd’ the bank will provide a top-up in funding of £1m per annum and will be offering up to 50% of an individual’s fundraising target (capped at £5,000) for certain successful projects.
The initiative will not be equity crowdfunding, it will be donation and reward based – i.e. funders will be given a discount towards products or services in return for their donation in some instances.
Jill Arnold, NatWest’s Sustainable Banking Lead, Enterprise, whose team developed the initiative, said: "Using the bank’s Entrepreneur Accelerator programme, our Women in Business proposition and industry experts, we will be offering bespoke training and coaching, networking opportunities and local events. We’re also excited about showcasing role models who will not only inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, but guide them and help them on their journey."
The recent Alison Rose Review on Female Entrepreneurship, carried out alongside the UK Treasury, revealed that only 5.6% of women run their own business and further bank data also shows that women are half as likely as men to start a business (NatWest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2018).
Rob Love, CEO of Crowdfunder said: "This is a brilliant opportunity for more women across the UK to turn their ideas into reality. Crowdfunding has been proven to help women validate their ideas, build confidence and raise the funds they need to make their ideas happen: more than half of our crowdfunding community is female. So we look forward to providing the inspiration and support, alongside NatWest, needed to help more female entrepreneurs get their business ideas backed."
To find out more about the campaign and eligibility criteria visit https://natwestbackherbusiness.co.uk/