RBS ‘executive wing’ now entrepreneurial spark

Alison Rose, CEO of commercial and private banking at RBS

The notorious former ‘executive wing’ at Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters in Gogarburn, Edinburgh — seen as a symbol of excess before the financial crisis and bail out of RBS — has been transformed to create a hub of entrepreneurship and innovation.

The wing has been reopened as a new Entrepreneurial Spark business accelerator hub or business “hatchery” that will sit alongside Open Experience, RBS’ new technology business centre.

The Entrepreneurial Spark 2015 Impact Report released on Friday shows that 88% of start-ups and early stage entrepreneurs who have been through Entrepreneurial Spark’s “enablement programme” are still trading.

The report also highlights the scale of the support the accelerator is providing entrepreneurs across the country.

Since Entrepreneurial Spark was founded in 2011, the 660 businesses it has supported have had an aggregate turnover of £85.9 million, attracted £45.2 million of investment and created 1,816 jobs.

The new hatchery, opened in partnership with KPMG, will provide start-ups with expert enablement — focussing on “developing entrepreneurial leadership mindsets and behaviours amongst the 80 businesses who will join the programme every six months.”

Entrepreneurial Spark will be joined in the former executive wing by Scottish business organisations including Entrepreneurial Scotland, Business Gateway, Napier University, Scottish Edge, The Princes Trust Scotland and The Lens (Scotland’s social EDGE Fund).

Alison Rose (pictured), CEO of commercial and private banking at RBS, said: “We are determined to support entrepreneurs and the impact they make in driving the economy.

“This is why we have created an entrepreneurial ecosystem that will give start-ups the best chance, by taking away concerns about things like office facilities and letting them concentrate on their business.

“But we also want our staff to become more entrepreneurial, and by putting the new hatchery at the heart of our Edinburgh HQ we want them to learn from the entrepreneurs and start thinking like them.

“This way they can understand our customers better and also help improve the culture of the bank.”

Jim Duffy, CEO, Entrepreneurial Spark said: “Our vision is to inspire and enable positive social change through the action of entrepreneuring, creating jobs and value in the economy.

“To now have our Edinburgh Hatchery at the heart of RBS’ global HQ is incredible and is a real statement from the bank and one they should be applauded for.

“With our application window open now across all UK Hatcheries for August entry, we can’t wait to work with RBS to create an inspiring place from which entrepreneurs can scale their businesses.”