Scotland’s first female-only crowdfunding programme comes to Edinburgh

Royal Bank of Scotland’s new initiative to support female entrepreneurship across Scotland comes to Edinburgh on July 24.

The crowdfunding programme, entitled ‘Back Her Business’, has been developed in partnership with established provider Crowdfunder and forms part of the bank’s wider ambition to reduce the gender gap when it comes to entrepreneurship.

It forms parts of the bank’s wider commitment to help, inspire and support a further 400,000 female-led businesses across the UK by 2025.

Crowdfunder provide the infrastructure and access to its wider network of partners and entrepreneurs, with the bank acting as a connector and enabler. Though most of the funding will come from ‘the crowd’, the bank will provide a top-up in 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 certain successful projects.

The initiative will not be equity crowdfunding, it will 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.

Launched in Aberdeen in Spring, the first event in Edinburgh takes place on July 24 at the bank’s 36 St Andrew Square office.

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 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.

“The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Back Her Business programme will help make some of that change happen.”

Recently, Royal Bank of Scotland’s Rose Review unearthed the fact that only 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.

Back Her Business will offer financial support to help businesses get off the ground but by using the bank’s Entrepreneur Accelerator programme, its Women in Business proposition and its industry experts, the initiative will offer bespoke training and coaching, networking opportunities and local events to help concepts reach the market and grow.

Malcolm Buchanan added: “The Rose Review, and the bank’s Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and Enterprise Tracker all reveal a worrying trend amongst would-be female entrepreneurs. We were told that they felt there was a lack of appropriate finance, mentoring, role models, local support and tailored advice and with Back Her Business, we want to tackle this head on.”

Back Her Business is part of Royal Bank of Scotland’s wider commitment to helping female entrepreneurs in any way it can. As well as the lack of financial structures that the bank has found to support women, it also commissioned research into the psychological challenges facing females in business and one condition in particular came to the fore – Imposter Syndrome.

The condition is a feeling of self-doubt, where an individual will question their accomplishments and believe that they are not as competent as others perceive them to be. Too often, the bank has come across these barriers preventing women from starting their own business and applying for funding. To delve into the scale of this barrier Royal Bank of Scotland commissioned research which found that of women who had considered starting a business but didn’t, 60% said it was due to factors such as a lack of confidence, not feeling like they are the type of person who could start a business or feeling they wouldn’t deserve to succeed despite their skills.

According to the Rose Review, if women started businesses at the same rate as men, it would add £250bn to the UK economy, a figure equivalent to four years’ of natural GVA growth.

Royal Bank of Scotland Business Growth Enabler Fiona Macpherson is hosting the Edinburgh event, with the bank’s head of business development for Business Banking Paula Ritchie presenting.

Paula said: “This is a great opportunity for female entrepreneurs at all stages of business development to meet, share, learn and help find the funding to take the idea or business to the next level and we welcome anyone to attend.”

For more information or to register to attend visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/back-her-business-royalbankboost-tickets-64417785330.

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