Work Hard

Bank backs the rise of female entrepreneurs

The UK is the start-up capital of Europe yet only one in three UK entrepreneurs are female. A report commissioned by NatWest and HM Treasury has revealed what is holding women back and how these issues can be overcome

Written by High Life North
Published 26.10.2019

The Alison Rose Review

The Alison Rose Review is a government-commissioned review examining the barriers women in business – in particular female entrepreneurs – face and what can be done to overcome them. The report outlined a number of recommendations to improve female start-up and scale-up rates. Implementing the recommendations could contribute an additional £250 billion to the UK economy.

The review, which was sponsored by NatWest’s incoming CEO Alison Rose, found five key barriers that lead to lower rates of entrepreneurship amongst women:

  1. Low access and awareness of capital 
  2. Greater risk awareness
  3. Perceived missing skills & experience
  4. Disproportionate primary care responsibilities   
  5. Lack of relatable sponsorship/mentorship/role models

NatWest is committed to supporting women in business through a number of schemes. Business Growth Enabler Nickie Kilkenny tells us more…

“For too long, women have been put off from starting a business by a number of factors – we want to make this a thing of the past.”

Nickie Kilkenny, Business Growth Enabler at NatWest

Nickie Kilkenny, Business Growth Enabler at NatWest, said: “Without question, women-led businesses have a vital role in the economy both in the North East and nationally. At our Newcastle Accelerator, 53% of the businesses involved in the programmes are led by women which is fantastic to see.”

“We know that tailored support from specialists can make a great difference in overcoming the barriers outlined in the Rose Review but we also recognise we need to be pro-active in supporting female entrepreneurs.

In response to the findings of the Rose Review, NatWest has launched the new Back Her Business Crowdfunding programme.  Working in partnership with Crowdfunder, the programme helps women prepare their ideas for new businesses and get them ready for a bespoke crowdfunding campaign. Businesses that meet their campaign targets will receive match funding from NatWest to support their businesses.

NatWest also runs a three-stage business Accelerator programme at 12-sites across the UK including Newcastle. Since the launch of the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator programme, the bank has prioritised supporting female entrepreneurs and ensuring that there is a positive gender balance across all of our propositions including the hub in Newcastle. 

The bank has signed the Investing In Women Code which has been backed by the Government. The code is a commitment to support female entrepreneurship in the UK by improving women’s access to the advice, resources and finance needed to build a business.

Nickie said: “Backing female entrepreneurs helps everyone. It helps women, of course, but it helps our economy, the start-up and business ecosystem, and, in the end, the wider consumer. For too long, women have been put off from starting a business by a number of factors – we want to make this a thing of the past.”

Other stories by High Life North

Durham best university in the North, according to The Times’ new guide

High Life North

Are you a woman working in tech? Discover this networking community…

High Life North

Designer Jo Aynsley on the inspiration behind new Northumberland hotel, The Tempus

High Life North

Charlotte Fisher chats performing, law and Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr

High Life North

How the childcare crisis is costing North East mums their careers

High Life North

The most expensive food from around the world

High Life North