TALENTED entrepreneurs with an ambition to grow their businesses are being offered a fully-funded programme of support and coaching.

NatWest is inviting applications from Hampshire for its next NatWest Accelerator programme ahead of the deadline on August 12.

The programme – which is not restricted to NatWest customers – gives participants one-to-one coaching and membership of a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.

Businesses also receive “thought leadership” through events, workshops and a digital library. The bank’s experienced development managers also give entrepreneurs access to free advice from partners and mentors across the UK.

The accelerator programme runs for six months, with the opportunity to continue for 18 months for businesses which become NatWest customers.

NatWest's accelerator hub at Chandlers Ford will be available for businesses who choose the "in-person first" version of the programme. 

Elly Rowley, regional ecosystem manager for NatWest Accelerator in the south west, said: “The accelerator programme has been designed specifically to help businesses who are growing and scaling and support them through that journey.

“That includes coaching with a dedicated, one-to-one coach. They have thought leadership, a variety of events and workshops they can tap into, as well as a network which we can introduce them to, of mentors supporting the ecosystem, and navigation of business support.

“Sometimes as an entrepreneur it’s really hard to be able to understand where to get the help that you so definitely need in periods of uncertainty.”

She said the programme was ideal for businesses looking to raise funding, grow and develop or increase turnover by around 30 per cent year-on-year in the next 12 months.

“We work with a variety of businesses, sector-agnostic, different ages, different demographics of entrepreneurs,” she said.

Half the spaces on each programme are reserved for female entrepreneurs. 

Entrepreneurs on the programme can choose from an “in-person first” option, based around the bank’s physical accelerator hubs such as those in Chandlers Ford and Bristol, or “virtual-first” with most events conducted remotely.

The accelerator hubs offer use of office space and a place to meet potential customers, as well as proximity to relationship managers and directors.

There were 20 businesses in the previous cohort and up to 60 can take part in the next.

Half the places on all the programmes are reserved for female entrepreneurs. Ms Rowley said the period since the start of the Covid crisis had seen a lot of entrepreneurialism.

“Start-ups or smaller businesses have taken the time over the last two years to put together really exemplary funding bids. They’ve taken the time to put these bids together and build teams and found that they’re on the up curve,” she said.

“It’s what happens next and the support that they’re offered which will be really important because it’s not going to be plain sailing from here. I think we all know that.”

For information, search online for NatWest Accelerator Programme.