Open4Business May 2019

NatWest launches the UK’s first female-only crowdfunding programme

Natwest back her business

CEO of Commercial & Private Banking, Alison Rose launches 'Back Her Business'

Back Her Business has been developed in partnership with established provider Crowdfunder and forms part of the bank's wider ambition to reduce the gender gap when it comes to entrepreneurship.

Back Her Business forms part of the bank's commitment to help, inspire and support a further 400,000 female-led businesses by 2025. The initiative will be developed UK-wide through NatWest in England and Wales.

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 £1 million 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, but donation and reward-based - i.e. funders will be given a discount towards products or services in return for their donation in some instances.

Back Her Business is, however, about more than funding, says Jill Arnold, NatWest's Sustainable Banking Lead, Enterprise:

The wrap around support the programme offers has received the strongest feedback. 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.

Recently, NatWest's Rose Review unearthed the fact 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. The reason for this figure is not a lack of aspiration, according to Arnold:

The Rose Review, NatWest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and Enterprise Tracker all reveal a worrying trend amongst would-be female entrepreneurs. We were told that they felt there was a lack of appropriate finance, mentoring, role models, local support and tailored advice and with Back Her Business, we want to tackle this head on.

Visit Back Her Business to find out more.