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NatWest Funds Major Women Entrepreneurship Programme in Wales


A programme designed to help women in Wales, particularly those from black and minority ethnic communities, launch their own businesses will begin later this month with the launch of an innovative six-week virtual training course.

The ACF Entrepreneurship Programme has been designed and led by the Cardiff-based not-for-profit Assadaqaat Community Finance (ACF), an organisation which provides financial support and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women, to start their own micro, small or medium size enterprise.

It has been supported by a £20,000 grant from NatWest and aims to inspire 200 women to explore enterprise with at least 18 of them going on to set-up a business.

The programme itself is divided into four 12-week quarters of activity. The first, a drive to raise awareness of the programme amongst black and minority ethnic communities has already taken place and will be followed by the commencement of the ‘Start Your Own Enterprise’ six-week training course delivered on Zoom in weekly two hour sessions on December 15.

In phase three participants are supported by mentors to move their business ideas forward including accessing finance, workshops on mindfulness and strategic thinking, and sessions by NatWest on scams and fraud businesses should be aware of.

By phase four participants are ready to launch their businesses with the continued support of ACF and NatWest.

Akmal Hanuk, founder and CEO of ACF, said:

“We are grateful for the support extended to ACF by NatWest helping us to reach out to women from all communities, especially from the black and minority ethnic communities, to consider self-employment and entrepreneurship as an option.

“Offering professional and strategically targeted training and mentoring support, our aim at ACF is to nurture and empower individuals, especially women, to bring their business ideas into reality – cultivating economic opportunities for strong and inclusive growth.

“Supporting our communities financially and delivering social and economic measurable impacts is the hallmark of our Assadaqaat financial model.”

Cheryl Gourlay, Enterprise Manager and member of the NatWest Cymru Board, said:

“This a hugely empowering programme that gives women in Wales who want to start their own business a real opportunity to gain the skills, confidence, contacts and opportunities they need to achieve their goals.

“As a bank we have set ourselves the goal of helping create an additional 50,000 new businesses by 2023 and crucially 60% will be female-led. Partnerships like the ACF Entrepreneurship Programme are important to us reaching more women and ensuring there are more female-led businesses throughout Wales.”

For further information about the ACF Entrepreneurship Programme email [email protected].


At NatWest Cymru we are passionate supporters of enterprise and offer a wide range of services to people who want to start, run and grow a business.

Business Builder is a completely free online tool which is entirely self-serve and can be accessed 24/7 through a dedicated online portal.

It’s designed to support entrepreneurs and business owners to upskill and develop themselves and their business at a time and pace that suits them.

Register and find out more at:

In addition, our Local Enterprise Managers offer free support and expertise to small businesses – whether you bank with us or not. NatWest Cymru’s Local Enterprise Managers can:

• Boost your insight and knowledge in specialist subjects by giving you access to local talks and educational events.
• Boost your connections with opportunities and partnerships. These could be within our group or through a variety of other businesses we work with – they could help you on the road to success.
• Boost your skills through training and mentoring with 1:1 sessions.

Contact your Local Enterprise Manager:

Julia Perry. [email protected]
07786 462378

Lee Morgan. [email protected]
07790 913197


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