Friday 24 January 2020 8:41 am

RBS boss Alison Rose sets aside £1bn for female entrepreneurs

RBS’ new boss Alison Rose today announced £1bn in funding through Natwest to support female entrepreneurs in the UK. 

Rose will aim to support the creation of 50,000 startups by 2023 by inspiring half a million people to consider starting a business, of whom at least 60 per cent will be women. 

Read more: Female bosses launch campaign to close the gender pay gap

Before becoming the bank’s first female boss, Rose led a government-backed review which found that the single biggest barrier facing female entrepreneurs is a lack of funding. 

“Building a business is often tough and lonely and can be harder than it needs to be,” Rose said.

The Rose Review found that women launch businesses with 53 per cent less capital on average than men and are less aware of funding options. 

She added: “By tackling the most important issues facing our entrepreneurs, we can make a real difference to those who need it most, especially in female-led businesses.” 

Simon Clarke, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said it is “shocking” that only a third of entrepreneurs are women.

He added: “This £1bn of funding is a tremendous step forward and demonstrates the finance sector’s commitment to promote female entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom.”

Business secretary Andrea Leadsom also welcomed the funding.

She said: “RBS is offering a real boost for the country’s female entrepreneurs and for the whole British business community. Their new investment supports our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to work and to grow a business.”

The funding through Natwest joins other initiatives and partnerships focused on female entrepreneurs.

Read more: Alison Rose confirmed as new RBS boss

In March 2019 Natwest and Crowdfunder launched Back Her Business, which enables women to register and prepare a business idea for crowdfunding. 

Most of the funding for these businesses is crowdfunded but Natwest provides a top-up in funding of £1m per year. 

Rose was deputy chief executive of Natwest before replacing RBS boss Ross McEwan in September last year. 

A management shake-up under Rose will reportedly see Mark Bailie, a rival to Rose for the top job, leave RBS’s digital bank Bo next month.