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article imageNetwork of fintech accelerator hubs established

By Tim Sandle     Feb 27, 2018 in Business
London - British bank NatWest has embarked on a program to establish four fintech accelerators based in the U.K. The bank will provide resources with the aim of adopting some of the new technology.
The bank has set up the accelerators in the cities of Bristol, Edinburgh, London and Manchester at National Westminster Bank ('Natwest') locations. For this the bank is working with Dell EMC. The partnership will offer technology reviews and sales strategy analysis to each startup that becomes a member of the hub. The initial run will accommodate 80 entry firms.
Each startup will be allocated a technology team mentor. At the appropriate stage the early-stage firms will be able to pitch their fintech idea to NatWest’s Innovation Scouting Team. There will also be a potential opportunity to link with the U.K. government, at civil service level, by connected up with the Department of Industry and Trade.
In-house acceleration
The NatWest program is designed to run between 6-to-18 months. Startup companies need to apply, with applications based on the idea and the growth prospects. What the new businesses gain, in addition to the advice and support, is free office space. The startups also receive access to networks and supply chains connected to the bank.
In addition to the specially selected companies, NatWest also aims to assist 5,000 entrepreneurs throughout 2018. Commenting on these various schemes, Alison Rose, who is the CEO of commercial and private banking at NatWest, stated: "By bringing the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator network in-house, we can dramatically increase the number of entrepreneurs we’re able to support.”
She also said: “We also want our staff to develop entrepreneurial mindsets to help them think differently and to problem solve in the same way business owners have to do on a daily basis.”
Accelerators and incubators
Accelerators are becoming an increasingly popular international model for major companies (or governments) to help nurture startups (with the benefit for the sponsoring company to reap some of the gains when a concept becomes a reality).
An alternative to accelerators are incubators, which provide a controlled and protective environment to nurture startups. These tend to be for less mature or advanced startups than at the accelerator stage. Hub is a term often used interchangeably for the various forms of co-working spaces.
These programs are encouraged by the organization Entrepreneurial Spark, which is the world’s largest business accelerator for startups and early stage ventures. Through various ventures over 2,000 businesses have been supported to start, grow and scale-up in the U.K.
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