RBS has today announced it is opening up its global Headquarters in Edinburgh to key Scottish business organisations and entrepreneurs to encourage entrepreneurialism and promote economic growth. The bank is transforming its former ‘executive wing’ into a centre for entrepreneurs and innovation to bring together Scotland’s enterprise ecosystem to share knowledge and expertise and encourage collaboration to support fledgling businesses.
The centre will house staff from business organisations: Business Gateway, Entrepreneurial Spark; Entrepreneurial Scotland; Napier University; Scottish Edge; The Princes Trust Scotland; The Lens (Scotland's social EDGE Fund); Big Noodle; Bright Red Triangle; and We are the Future. It will also be home to an Entrepreneurial Spark Business Accelerator Hub, including a ‘Hatchery’ for early stage start-ups and a ‘Nest’ for high growth, high impact businesses.
Business Gateway Fife clients, Errin and Kieth Todd from Lobster Pod, found the entrepreneurial support extremely valuable. Working with her Business Gateway adviser and experts at Entrepreneurial Spark, including Ann Gloag, who encouraged “self-belief, focus and Go Do attitude”. Lobster Pod went on to win £100,000 at the Scottish Edge final in December, changing Errin’s life and allowing them to hire 12 staff.
The accelerator hub will house up 80 entrepreneurs, who will receive free office space and WiFi as well as access to specially trained RBS staff and business mentors. They will also benefit from the opportunity to collaborate and network with the enterprise support organisations and fellow entrepreneurs sat alongside them. RBS employees will also be encouraged to collaborate and network with business owners located in the centre, not just to share their expertise, but to help staff learn first hand more about the challenges faced by start-up businesses.
Entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to pitch to potential investors and compete for growth awards of up to £100,000, which will provide much needed cash injections when their businesses need it most. Applicants for the accelerator hub will be welcomed from any sector and do not need to be RBS or NatWest customers.
Ross McEwan, Chief Executive of RBS, said: “It is not just start-up businesses that need to be innovative and forward thinking to thrive and grow; RBS needs to be as well. That is why we are opening up our headquarters so that we can support Scottish businesses of tomorrow, not just with infrastructure, but through the chance to collaborate with experts and other like minded business owners. This marks a step change in how we can work with partners to support our local economy.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We want to see a Scotland that is a world leader in innovation – that’s a key way in which we can continue to grow our economy. Everyone should have equal opportunity for entrepreneurial success so it’s fantastic that this new centre will now be home to organisations which work to give people that chance. Working together– across all sectors – to make Scotland a great place to do business is a key part of ‘Scotland CAN DO’ - our national platform for boosting entrepreneurship.”