NatWest offers a helping hand to Yorkshire’s entrepreneurs

Yorkshire-based entrepreneurs have until February 17 to apply for a place on NatWest’s business development programme. The NatWest Accelerator program offers six months of free support for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking for guidance on how to scale and grow their businesses.

Support is tailored to business needs and includes one-to-one coaching on topics including pitching, fundraising and leadership development. The scheme also introduces budding entrepreneurs to a network of local business support organisations, and provides free use of NatWest’s modern offices in Accelerator Hubs.

Valentina Hynes, founder of SVH Inc CIC, a Harrogate-based social enterprise providing wellbeing and mental health training for the workplace applied to NatWest’s Accelerator scheme and joined the program in early 2020.

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With the support of NatWest coaches, Valentina successfully turned her budding business into a Community Interest Company (CIC) and secured £10,000 grant funding to provide Mental Health First Aid Champion training to hairdressers, barbers, barista, beautician and waiter, for life. navigating the challenges of the covid lockdown.

Valentina, who was inspired to start her employee health business after her husband suffered a heart attack caused by work-related stress, said: “Participating in the NatWest Accelerator program was really empowering. The coaches are very supportive but at the same time challenge you to think about your business and grow beyond your comfort zone.

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“I am very grateful for the learning journey as an entrepreneur supported by NatWest. Their advice and guidance meant I turned my business around to become a CIC. It’s opened up new avenues and funding opportunities that I wouldn’t have known about.”

Heather Waters, regional enterprise manager for NatWest in the North, said: “We know that entrepreneurs have to multitask, they have to be CEO, finance director and HR manager and often have no experience in some of those places and no support network.

“The NatWest Accelerator program supports and empowers entrepreneurs and business owners to grow their business to the next level. We can help entrepreneurs do their business more and faster, so we encourage any small businesses that could benefit to apply.”

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The NatWest Accelerator hub in Leeds is part of a national network of hubs run by the bank to support small and medium-sized businesses. The network is one of the largest of its kind across the UK and over the past four years, the program has supported more than 3,500 individuals and businesses, helping them achieve an average turnover of £301,521 and raise £198m in total investment .

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

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