RBS to launch women-only crowdfunder in Scottish first

Royal Bank of Scotland is to launch Scotland’s first women-only crowdfunding programme, as part of its efforts aims to encourage female entrepreneurship.

Malcolm Buchanan, chair of Royal Bank of Scotlands Scotland Board, announced the initiative. Picture: Gary Baker
Malcolm Buchanan, chair of Royal Bank of Scotlands Scotland Board, announced the initiative. Picture: Gary Baker

The initiative, entitled “Back Her Business”, has been developed in partnership with funding platform Crowdfunder.

It seeks to reduce the gender gap when it comes to start-ups by giving women across the UK the opportunity to test and validate their business ideas.

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Back Her Business, launched today in Aberdeen, will offer financial support as well as bespoke training, coaching, networking opportunities and local events through the bank’s Entrepreneur Accelerator programme and its Women in Business proposition.

Although most of the funding will come from crowdsourced pledges, RBS will provide a top-up fund of £1 million per annum and offer up to 50 per cent of an individual’s fundraising target – capped at £5,000 – for certain projects.

It forms part of the bank’s wider commitment to support a further 400,000 women-led businesses across the UK by 2025.

The lender’s recently published Rose Review revealed that only 5.6 per cent of women run their own business and that women are half as likely as men to start a venture.

According to the report, if women started businesses at the same rate as men it would add £250 billion to the UK economy, a figure equivalent to four years of natural GVA (gross value added) growth.

Speaking at the event launch at Aberdeen’s Marischal Square, Malcolm Buchanan, chair of Royal Bank of Scotland’s Scotland Board, said: “The Rose Review, and the bank’s Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and Enterprise Tracker all reveal a worrying trend amongst would-be female entrepreneurs.

“We were told that they felt there was a lack of appropriate finance, mentoring, role models, local support and tailored advice and with Back Her Business, we want to tackle this head on.

“I see women with drive, passion and courage to go it alone and start their own business. The time couldn’t be more apt for us to really mobilise this energy and make some meaningful changes.”

Crowdfunder chief executive Rob Love added: “This is a brilliant opportunity for more women across the UK to turn their ideas into reality.

“Crowdfunding has been proven to help women validate their ideas, build confidence and raise the funds they need to make their ideas happen: more than half of our crowdfunding community is female.”