University of Warwick: New NatWest Accelerator hub to open at University of Warwick

NatWest and the University of Warwick are opening a new business Accelerator hub on the University’s campus, with the focus on supporting and empowering students, local entrepreneurs, and local business owners to grow their businesses. Applications are now open for local businesses and students to join the first cohort, starting in January.

Based in the University’s new campus innovation hub, Junction, this is the first time NatWest has opened an Accelerator hub at a UK University. This collaboration helps to deliver the bank’s ambition of supporting start-ups, small businesses and the wider economy by working in collaboration with like-minded institutions, such as the University of Warwick.

The hub will provide a physical base for bank’s suite of free Accelerator programmes which have been designed to support business owners to scale their businesses to the next level. The programmes on offer include offerings for High Growth, Fintech, and Purpose-led businesses; it also includes a Climate accelerator designed to help climate focused businesses to grow and scale.

Up to 40 businesses will be invited to join the first cohort at the University of Warwick and 10 of these places have been allocated for students from the University. Those involved will receive one to one coaching, access to like-minded peers and focussed support from experts, as well as access to the hub’s co-working space at the University of Warwick.

NatWest currently runs 11 Accelerator hubs across the UK. In 2021, the hubs in the Midlands have supported 182 businesses with a combined total turnover of £3.6 million. Of these businesses 49.45 per cent were female-led and 38.46 per cent were run by black, Asian or minority ethnic entrepreneurs.

University of Warwick graduate, Madeline Booth, and her business Scrubbee have recently been part of the NatWest Accelerator programme in Birmingham. Scrubbee is a small, sustainable and female-led skincare brand upcycling ‘waste’ coffee grounds from local Birmingham cafes. 

Madeline said: “I learned about the NatWest Accelerator programme while developing the business during my final year. The University put me in touch with NatWest and I joined the Accelerator from there. The one-to-one support from NatWest has been invaluable and helped me to shape my business for the future.”

University of Warwick’s Vice Chancellor, Stuart Croft, said “Warwick’s Excellence with Purpose strategy commits us to making our region a better place for those who study, live and work here, and to ensuring we create a more sustainable world for future generations. This new collaboration with NatWest is very exciting because it means we will support more local entrepreneurs to build their futures, contribute to our regional and national economy and address major challenges facing society at a local level. This new hub is an important and exciting new addition to our existing business innovation, accelerator and incubator programmes, offered to local entrepreneurs, companies and students, delivered through our Innovation District.”

Andrew Harrison, Managing Director of Business Banking at NatWest, added: “We are incredibly excited to be collaborating with the University of Warwick, and supporting the wider regional business ecosystem through the new hub. We know there are some amazing businesses that will benefit from the specialist support on offer, and we look forward to working with the University of Warwick as we create a vibrant enterprise hub to support businesses.”