Coutts, the Private Banking arm of NatWest, together with BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in growing businesses, are working on plans to launch The UK Enterprise Fund to bring additional funding and support to entrepreneurs across the UK.
The partnership will build on Coutts and BGF’s existing platforms, drawing on the significant scale and financial firepower of the two companies. It will aim to identify and address equity gaps across the whole of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, with specific initiatives and programmes for female-led businesses and aimed at increasing the diversity of management teams.
The launch of the partnership coincides with the one-year anniversary of the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship. The 2019 Review found that the UK is lagging behind many peer countries on the ratio of female to male entrepreneurs – for every 10 male entrepreneurs in the UK, there are fewer than five female entrepreneurs.
Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest and author of the Review, said: “I am proud to be announcing that Coutts is working with BGF to develop The UK Enterprise Fund. This is a pivotal moment for the Rose Review and represents the great progress made in addressing the biggest barrier to women-led businesses, that of access to capital.”
Coutts’ partnership with BGF will build on and further scale the existing framework through which Coutts’ clients already support private businesses in the UK via the Coutts Investment Club.
Stephen Welton, Founder and CEO of BGF, said: “While there is innovation and progress in many areas of the investment and entrepreneurial communities, the lack of diversity needs to be addressed. We are missing out on a huge opportunity to back more talented businesses. BGF has already shown the power of having a clear focus on the regional economy which has resulted in over 75% of our investments being outside London and the South East. Now we want to build on that by doing more to back other underrepresented groups.
“We’re delighted to join forces with Coutts, who share our ethos and passion around inclusive entrepreneurship. That needs to be about more than just money. With the right focus, role models, support and capital we can and should do much better as an industry. This partnership will test both investor and entrepreneur appetite to do more.”
Mo Syed, Managing Director Coutts, added: “We are proud to partner with BGF to launch The UK Enterprise Fund – addressing one of the key barriers as identified by the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, that of lack of capital. Coutts is committed to supporting the UK’s entrepreneurs and this Fund will build on the existing framework through which Coutts clients already support private businesses via the Coutts Investment Opportunity Service.”
This month, BGF launched a series of in-depth investment workshops for female founders and CEOs. The inaugural event in London was attended by entrepreneurs across a range of growing businesses – from life sciences to wellness brands and regulatory technology, led by one of BGF’s portfolio female CEOs.