A campaign launched by NatWest that aims to help more women in Wales launch their own businesses is offering up to £5,000 in free grant funding to help female entrepreneurs get their business off the ground.
Back Her Business was launched by the bank earlier this year in partnership with Crowdfunder and has already helped several Welsh female entrepreneurs access the start-up money and support they need.
The UK-wide campaign is part of NatWest’s work to inspire 400,000 female-led business by 2025 and follows the publication earlier this year of the Rose Review by the bank’s newly appointed CEO Alison Rose.
The Treasury commissioned report highlighted the barriers faced by women wanting to start their own business with just one in three entrepreneurs being female. This is a gender gap equivalent to 1.1 million missing businesses with an economic value of £250bn.
Back Her Business is one of the ways in which NatWest is aiming to challenge that figure.
The initiative works by giving participants a crowdfunding platform to raise the money they need to launch their business with, as well as free coaching, mentoring and opportunities to meet like-minded women. NatWest is providing a top-up fund of £1m per annum and will be offering up to 50% of an individual’s fundraising target (capped at £5,000) for qualifying businesses.
Demi Amber successfully raised £8,200 through the Back Her Business Campaign and has now launched her ethical fashion label, Work Shy, based in Cardiff.
“Achieving our funding goal through NatWest’s crowdfunding platform was the push I needed to take my business from an idea to a trading fashion label and secure an initial customer base. The Back Her Business campaign and support team gave me the confidence to push my idea further and gave me the confidence to succeed. I knew I needed funding to do launch, but it can be difficult knowing what is actually available and what are the best options. The mentoring support I received has been hugely beneficial and really motivating. I'm now super excited and more confident than ever that our business is on the path to success.
Cheryl Gourlay, NatWest National Women in Business Manager, said:
“It’s great news that the Back Her Business campaign is already making an impact in Wales, but we want to support more women here who want to start their own business.
“The Rose Review found that a lack of start-up funding was one of the primary barriers preventing women from starting a business, which is why this campaign is so important. Women start businesses with 53% less capital on average than men, are often less aware of funding options, and less likely to take on debt.
“We want to see that change because there is a wealth of untapped talent out there. Back Her Business provides an accessible funding platform as well as peer-to-peer support and mentoring. We’ll help you raise the money you need and bring you together with the people that can help you succeed. It’s a great opportunity, which is why we hope that as many women in Wales wanting to start their own business take part.”
The campaign has been supported by Wales’ leading gender equality charity Chawrae Teg. It’s CEO Cerys Furlong said:
“It is important we support and empower more women throughout Wales who want to start their own businesses. We know across all sectors in Wales women are under-represented and that means our economy is missing out on billions of pounds in lost growth and innovation.
“The Back Her Business campaign is an exciting opportunity to create a new generation of female business leaders in Wales who in turn can drive growth and employment throughout our economy.”
Visit www.natwestbackherbusiness.co.uk for more information.