The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has unveiled a crowdfunding programme, dubbed Back Her Business, which was developed in partnership with Crowdfunder.
The aim of the programme is to help support and inspire a further 40,000 female-led businesses across the UK by 2025, and is part of the bank’s wider commitment to closing the gender gap when in relation to entrepreneurship.
According to RBS’s Rose Review, just 5.6% of women run their own business and further bank data also shows that women are half as likely as men to start a business.
It is hoped the Back Her Business will help address this figure by offering participants financial support, bespoke training and coaching, and networking opportunities.
Crowdfunder will provide the infrastructure and access to its wider network of partners and entrepreneurs, with the bank acting as a connector and facilitator.
Although the bulk of funding will be crowd sourced, the bank will provide additional funding of £1m per annum across the UK and will be offering up to 50% of an individual’s fundraising target (capped at £5,000) for some successful projects.
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In this instance, the initiative will not be equity crowdfunding, it will instead be donation and reward based i.e. funders will be given a discount towards products or services in return for their donation in some instances.
Malcolm Buchanan, chair of Royal Bank of Scotland’s Scotland Board, said: “Providing support to all businesses throughout Scotland is a key priority for us at Royal Bank of Scotland. I know from the work we do with entrepreneurs in our Scottish Entrepreneur Accelerator Hubs in Glasgow and Edinburgh and through our female business leaders and supporters, that there is a wealth of female entrepreneurs and business owners who are really driving ambition and change in Scotland.
“We collaborate regularly with organisations such as Women Enterprise Scotland, Scottish Women in Technology, Women in Agriculture, Radiant & Brighter, Scottish Enterprise, universities, Scottish Edge, Converge and Elevator to name but a few, and 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.”
Rob Love, CEO of Crowdfunder, said: “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. So we look forward to providing the inspiration and support, alongside Royal Bank of Scotland, needed to help more female entrepreneurs get their business ideas backed.”