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Coutts and BGF launch fund supporting female entrepreneurs

9 March 2020

Natwest-owned private bank Coutts has teamed up with investment group BGF to launch a new fund aimed at supporting female entrepreneurs.

The UK Enterprise Fund will offer funding, growth capital and support to entrepreneurs, with specific initiatives and programmes focused on female-led businesses and increasing the diversity of management teams.

The fund marks the latest stage in the Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, which today published its progress report a year on from launch. Last year, the government-commissioned review identified eight practical recommendations to address the barriers facing the UK’s female entrepreneurs. It found that the disparity between male and female entrepreneurs could be worth as much as £250 billion in untapped potential for the UK economy.

Alison Rose, CEO, Natwest, said: “When we launched the Rose Review 12 months ago, the ambition was this would galvanise real action through a series of recommended practical steps.  Over the course of the last 12 months we have seen real action.

Announcing that Coutts is working with BGF to develop The UK Enterprise Fund is a pivotal moment for the Rose Review and represents the great progress made in addressing the biggest barrier to women led businesses, that of access to capital.”

Stephen Welton, CEO, BGF, said: “We’re delighted to join forces with Coutts, who share our ethos and passion around inclusive entrepreneurship. That needs to be about more than just money. With the right focus, role models, support and capital we can and should do much better as an industry. This partnership will test both investor and entrepreneur appetite to do more.”

Separately, Natwest has pledged £1 billion to women-led start-ups, launched a female crowdfunding platform entitled Back her Business and launched a number of Family First banking products throughout the past year. It has also rolled out 38 financial Expert in Residence programmes across England to help local entrepreneurs, with time dedicated each week to helping them tackle challenges identified in the Rose Review.

Rose added: “The progress that has been made in a relatively short period of time, whilst impressive, is just the beginning. I look forward to continuing to work with all those individuals who are devoting their time and energy to the cause of helping female entrepreneurs – as we look to achieve the Government’s target to increase the number of female entrepreneurs by half by 2030.”

Small Business Minister Paul Scully commented: “We are committed to closing the gap between male and female entrepreneurs, equipping women with the tools they need to start and grow their own businesses. There is still work to do to remove the barriers faced by women, but the Rose Review has already made a huge impact in just one year.”

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