RBS debuts Expert in Residence initiative to help female entrepreneurs

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has launched its Expert in Residence programme across Scotland, operating from branches and in communities to help female entrepreneurs realise their growth ambitions.

The initiative, which started as a two-year-pilot, is being rolled out north of the Border with the support of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the UK’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

NatWest-owned RBS said the four staff appointed for Scotland will be available to host events, provide expert insight and advice on business finance, and support their LEP to access additional expertise to help female-led businesses achieve their potential. These roles will also support with lending and banking services in partnership with specialists from the lender.

The bank said Expert in Residence is the latest action it has taken following the Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, which was launched in 2019 and co-authored by RBS boss Alison Rose.

RBS boss Ms Rose is encouraging businesses to reach out to their local Expert in Residence (file image). Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire.

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The report demonstrated that up to £250 billion of new value (equivalent to a million smaller firms) could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men.

It also proposed eight key initiatives that would help improve the UK’s female business environment, and found that a key enabler was access to local, trusted and relatable expertise.

Expert in Residence aims to offer that enabler, as well as providing the improved access to finance that will allow female entrepreneurs to grow their business further.

Ms Rose said much progress has been made since the launch of her review. "Yet there is more to do and, post-pandemic, support which is practical, face to face, and tailored to local communities, will be critical in enabling entrepreneurs to rebuild and thrive.

“We are delighted to be working with BEIS and the LEP Network to roll out the bank’s Expert in Residence programme across the country and I encourage businesses to reach out to their local Expert in Residence via their LEP or Growth hub in order to advantage of what they can offer – alongside the wider package of support available.”

The announcement comes days after RBS announced that it had hiked its shareholder payouts and generated a hefty first-half profit.

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