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Rose unveils UK fund for female entrepreneurs

Alison Rose

Alison Rose: real action (pic: Terry Murden)

Bank chief Alison Rose has unveiled the next phase of her campaign to support female entrepreneurs – a UK Enterprise Fund.

The fund is a joint initiative between NatWest-owned private bank Coutts and the Business Growth Fund (BGF).

The setting up of the fund is the latest stage in the Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship which today publishes its Progress Report – a year on from launch.

Last year, the Government-commissioned Review identified eight practical recommendations to start to address the barriers facing the UK’s female entrepreneurs.

There was some concern that the Rose Review had no representatives from Scotland. Almost all are based in London. NatWest is among the 22 signatories.

The ambition was this would galvanise real action

– Alison Rose

The UK Enterprise Fund aims to bridge the biggest barrier – access to capital.

The partnership promises to identify and address equity gaps across the whole of the UK entrepreneurial ecosystem, with specific initiatives and programmes focused on female-led businesses and increasing the diversity of management teams.

Ms Rose, who now styles herself CEO of NatWest Group after controversially dropping the RBS name, 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. I am proud today to provide this Update Report, full of examples of the tangible and targeted support that has been implemented for the UK’s female entrepreneurs.

“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.”

Over the past year NatWest/RBS also announced £1 billion of Female Entrepreneurship Funding, launched Back her Business the UK’s only female crowdfunding platform and developed and launched a number of Family First banking products.

It has set up 38 financial Experts in Residence – with NatWest dedicating specific time each week to helping local entrepreneurs tackle challenges identified in the Rose Review. They are all in England.

“I know that other banks and institutions are equally committed to making a difference and have activity underway,” said Ms Rose. “Together we have established The Rose Review Board and the Council for Investing in Female Entrepreneurs.

The Rose Review has already made a huge impact in just one year

– Paul Scully, UK Business Minister

“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 said: “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.”

Stephen Welton, CEO of 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.”

Rose Review constituents

  • 22 signatories of the Investing in Women Code
    • NatWest Group
    • Lloyds
    • Barclays
    • Santander
    • TSB
    • Metro Bank
    • Co-op Bank
    • Bank of Ireland
    • Frontline (VC)
    • Episode 1 (VC)
    • British Business Bank
    • UK Business Angels Association
    • Angel Academe
    • British Enterprise Fund
    • Anglia Capital Group
    • Astia
    • Fredericks Foundation
    • Green Angel Syndicate
    • Nationwide Building Society
    • Oxford Investment Opportunity Network
    • Elite (LSEG)
    • BGF
  • Rose Review Board Members
    • Kemi Badenoch, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (co-chair)
    • Paul Scully (Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility (co-chair)
    • Alison Rose (Report Author)
    • Stephen Pegge( UK Finance)
    • Gurpreet Manku (BVCA’s Deputy Director General & Director of Policy)
    • Jenny Tooth OBE (CEO of UK Business Angels Association)
    • Alice Hu Wagner (Managing Director Strategy, Economics & Business Development, British Business Bank)
    • Alexandra Daly (CEO of AA Advisers and Chair of Council for Investing in Female Entrepreneurs)
    • Debbie Wosskow (Co-Founder of AllBright and member of Female Founders Forum)
    • Justine Roberts (Founder and CEO Mumsnet and Gransnet)
    • Kathryn Parsons (Decoded)
    • Addie Pinkster (Adelpha)
  • Council Members
    • Alexandra Daly, AA Advisors (Council Chair)
    • Addie Pinkster, Adelpha
    • Bina Mehta, KPMG
    • Camilla Richards, Atomico
    • Catherine Lewis La Torre, British Patient Capital
    • Charlotte Keenan, Goldman Sachs
    • Christian Strain, Summit Partners
    • Dana Haimoff, JP Morgan
    • Katherine Herzog Parsons, BP Ventures
    • Sharon Vosmek, Astia
    • Francesca Warner, Diversity VC
    • Gurpreet Manku, BVCA 
    • Lindsey McMurray, Pollen Street Capital
    • Mercedes Fernandez-Elias, Morgan Stanley 
    • Mohammad Kamal Syed, Coutts (Co-Chair)
    • Peter Arnold, Schroders 
    • Shona Baijal, UBS
    • Simon Davis, Clifford Chance  & Law 


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