Wednesday 30th March 2016
Building on its ongoing commitment to support UK business owners, RBS recently announced the launch of the first of 13 planned business accelerator hubs. When complete, the initiative will be the world’s largest free business accelerator for start-up, early stage and growing businesses, featuring a physical workspace; hands-on mentoring; a start-up “boot camp;” and a free 18-month program of advice, support and funding clinics. The bank is approaching intake with a gender lens: the accelerator currently comprises 50 percent male and 50 percent female entrepreneurs, an aggressive target considering men start businesses at twice the rate of women in the UK.
The accelerator hubs complement RBS’ comprehensive Women in Business services, which have supported women business owners for nearly a decade. RBS launched its Women in Business program in 2007 after recognizing that the bank could provide customized support to help more women start businesses through relationship building. The bank also trained a dedicated team of staff as Women in Business specialists, focusing on boosting women entrepreneurs’ confidence in their skills and business know-how, and helping them to set up and grow their companies. The specialists are also responsible for running regular networking and skill-building events, which in 2014 and 2015 drew nearly 15,000 women across the United Kingdom. Today RBS has more than 260 Women in Business specialists, with that number expected to nearly double to 500 by the end of the year.
In an effort to boost the number of women in senior roles at the bank, RBS also recently signed a charter pledging to appoint an executive responsible for gender, diversity and inclusion; set internal targets for gender diversity in senior management; publish staff gender statistics annually on the website; and link the pay of senior executives to these targets.
For more information about the RBS Women in Business initiative, click here.