NatWest has announced that Deloitte, Equifax and FreeAgent have signed up as partners to its Entrepreneur Accelerator programme, the UK’s largest fully-funded business accelerator network, with 12 hubs located throughout the country. The three organisations will provide a blend of consultancy and accountancy support, data and SME credit guidance, and SME accounting software to the thousands of businesses that are supported in the Entrepreneur Accelerators every year. They join Dell Technologies and Pinsent Masons, who have also extended their existing partnerships as the programme’s technology and legal partners, respectively.
The news will be welcomed by the cohort of 940 new entrepreneurs who joined the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator programme this month. These businesses benefit from NatWest’s comprehensive programme of free mentoring, insight and bespoke coaching developed for entrepreneurs who want to grow and scale their business.
All of this support is provided to entrepreneurs free with no strings attached. NatWest doesn’t take equity or a stake in their businesses, and the entrepreneurs don’t need to be NatWest customers. NatWest is committed to creating an environment in which UK entrepreneurs are given the best chance to succeed. The new partners will further enhance the expertise and advice available to the businesses based at their hubs.
Commenting on the new partnerships and the new additions to the Accelerator Hubs, Gordon Merrylees Managing Director for Entrepreneurship said: “At the heart of our support for entrepreneurs is our comprehensive programme of free mentoring, insight and bespoke coaching, specifically designed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs who want to grow and scale their business.
“We are proud to provide these entrepreneurs with full wrap-around care, connectivity and know-how, all crucial in creating an environment in which they can start, scale and succeed while helping build a strong national economy. I am particularly pleased that we are partnering with a range of companies whose expertise and knowledge will provide added value to the money can’t buy experience we’re able to provide entrepreneurs.”
This is the first cohort that has been wholly recruited by the bank, since it brought the running of the Entrepreneur Accelerator programme in house earlier this year. On average, businesses that are joining the hub have an average annual turnover of £406,000. As a result of an increasing focus on innovation, 56 new Fintechs have joined the Entrepreneur Accelerators as part of the October intake twice the amount that joined in the April 2018 cohort.
Robert McKechnie, Senior Manager, Vertical Propositions at Equifax said: “Entrepreneurs are a crucial component of the UK economy. It’s essential for them to receive the help and opportunities needed to thrive and grow and this is an important part of our approach to supporting UK businesses. From our relationship with NatWest we’ve seen first-hand how it supports entrepreneurs and we’re thrilled to partner with them to combine our capabilities in this space. We look forward to working with them to deliver a bespoke partnership which is aligned with their five key pillars of entrepreneur strategy.”
Mark Doleman Partner at Deloitte said: “Digital technology is changing many industries and at Deloitte we were of a view that professional service delivery to SMEs was ripe for change, too many SMEs were simply not getting the service they deserve. Therefore we created Propel by Deloitte seeking to use best in breed technology applications to delivery services and solutions to the SME market. Propel by Deloitte employs a subscription business model and seeks to provide technology enabled accounting services and completely automated business analytics. Propel by Deloitte is continually seeking to partner with innovative businesses and partners and the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator programme is a great example of organisations with a shared vision joining forces to support ambitious individuals and organisations to flourish. Propel by Deloitte seeks to share the technology platforms it has developed and the advisor network it has created to provide the businesses and entrepreneurs in the acceleration programme with real time high quality information and support.”
Dell Technologies Senior Vice President Dayne Turbitt said: “We are delighted to extend our partnership with NatWest to help launch and scale promising new enterprises in the UK. The country’s leading companies, as well as fast-growing SMEs, turn to Dell Technologies to help accelerate their growth with cutting edge digital ideas and solutions to keep them competitive and succeeding. Any new enterprise needs to think global from the outset and have an appetite to scale. Fast. The Dell sales and technology mentors know what it takes and will continue to share our skills across all NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator hubs for the foreseeable future.”
Alastair Morrison, Head of Client Strategy and Board Member at Pinsent Masons said: “Pinsent Masons are delighted to have extended our partnership with the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator. We got involved in the first instance because we wanted to demonstrate our commitment to innovation and sustainable business in a way that had a real impact across the UK, and partnering with the Entrepreneur Accelerator was the perfect way to do that. With more businesses than ever coming through the Accelerator, there was every reason to continue working with NatWest to bring world class support to the entrepreneurs.
Chief Commercial Officer at FreeAgent Kevin McCallum said: “FreeAgent is delighted to be part of the Entrepreneur Accelerator. For most entrepreneurs, accounting, bookkeeping and tax for their new and growing business is at worst a minefield and at best a necessary distraction. We’re keen to demonstrate that with the right tools and approach, accounting doesn’t need to be difficult.
“We also hope that we can inform and perhaps inspire some of the entrepreneurs with FreeAgent’s own story from start-up to IPO to our recent acquisition by Royal Bank of Scotland.”