This year’s sponsor of the Outstanding Entrepreneur category at the Northern Power Women Awards is none other than NatWest. A purpose driven bank committed to providing vital support to businesses and entrepreneurs, NatWest’s ethos reflects that of the Northern Power Women Awards, creating an impactful legacy that lasts for more than just one night. Access to finance is one of the greatest keys to unlocking economic, career, and ultimately personal success, for women in particular. Over the last year, our Outstanding Entrepreneur sponsor have proven time and time again just how committed they are to extending this access to all, enabling everyone to become their own definition of an Outstanding Entrepreneur.
The Rose Review
First published in 2019, The Rose Review documents NatWest CEO Alison Rose’s reflections on and discussions of the financial landscape. In the 2022 review revealed that more than 140,000 companies were established by all-women teams last year and the figure is growing by a third each year, with particularly strong growth in female-led start-ups among those aged 16 to 25.
Rose Review initiatives have seen tens of thousands of entrepreneurs across the UK benefiting from funding, advice and mentoring schemes, while thousands of students have received enterprise training, leading to significant year on year growth in female led start-ups.
But research conducted for the Rose Review shows that the impact of Covid-19 risks holding back progress.
It suggests that despite the rapid growth in female led start-ups, female entrepreneurs have spent twice as long on caring responsibilities during the pandemic as their male counterparts, and that their businesses have been less likely to recover.
In response, members of the Rose Review board have announced extra measures to boost support for female entrepreneurs:
- The launch of a nationwide Women Backing Women campaign from the Women Angel Investment Taskforce to support women to become business angels and thereby ensure that female founders across the UK have better chance to access early-stage investment, wherever their businesses are based.
- Expanded schemes will provide networking and mentoring opportunities and other direct support to hundreds of thousands of female founders over the next three years.
- A recruitment campaign, with the personal engagement of NatWest Group chief executive Alison Rose and business minister Paul Scully, to encourage even more institutions to sign up to the Investing In Women Code.
NatWest’s Dream Bigger entrepreneurship programme for young women aims to improve financial skills and build the right mindset needed to be an entrepreneur. As well as hoping to increase the number of young women who would be interested in starting their own business, the Dream Bigger programme also inspires a wider confidence for the future world of work, as a result of digital and in person lessons, workshops, provided learning materials and follow up support.
NatWest Fund Her North Partnership
Going even further to cement their position as an empowering force for good, NatWest also announced their partnership with female entrepreneurship collective FundHerNorth in 2021. Described as “the only organisation of its kind in the UK that brings together women in the investment industry in this way to support female founders”, NatWest’s partnership with FundHerNorth allows greater support of investment opportunities for female entrepreneurs across the North of England. Speaking on the partnership, Heather Waters, enterprise manager at NatWest, said: “the partnership with Fund Her North offers NatWest a progressive opportunity to support women across the whole of the North and encourage their enterprise and investment ambitions”.
Business in the Community Pilot – Bradford
In a bid to support small businesses owners to scale up their business, the pilot of the Business in the Community Programme will enable Bradford business owners from underrepresented backgrounds to access the support services that will foster the sustainable growth of their businesses. The programme hopes to strike the balance between meeting the immediate and more pressing needs of these businesses, whilst also signposting access to the right support structures and tools required for longer term growth. Part of the wider Levelling Up agenda, NatWest’s support of the Bradford pilot will stimulate the economic growth that is so needed in the Northern regions.
We are so pleased to have NatWest sponsoring the Outstanding Entrepreneur Award at the sixth Northern Power Women Awards and it was fantastic to be able to celebrate the shortlist together in person!