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More than 60 entrepreneurs in Milton Keynes have been welcomed onto NatWest’s Accelerator business building programme.
The NatWest Accelerator scheme supports and empowers entrepreneurs to grow their small and medium-sized business to the next level and this year saw more applications than ever to the six-month scheme.This year is the first time the programme has been able to run in person since the pandemic and NatWest saw entrepreneurs from across the region applying to take part in the free business builder scheme.One of the entrepreneurs joining the scheme is Oz Azubuine, founder of OzzleBox Ltd, an entertainment company that uses human beatbox to inspire creativity.Mr Azubuine said: “When I started my entrepreneurial journey, I didn’t realise that I was treating my business as a hobby; it was taking all my money with very little in return. It was only around the time of the pandemic when I pivoted the business model to a digital one, did I realise that a business pays you money and a hobby takes your money!“I fell in love with entrepreneurship again and gaining recognition, like being accepted into the NatWest Accelerator programme, has given me a new lease on life.”Bruce Fletcher, NatWest’s Group Chief Risk Officer, welcomed the entrepreneurs to the programme and heard more about their business aspirations.Mr Fletcher said: “As an organisation, we’re committed to removing barriers to business and providing opportunities to help companies grow. Our Accelerator hubs are a central strand of our strategy, allowing NatWest to support up-and-coming entrepreneurs and businesses across a host of sectors to become future success stories.“It was fantastic to meet Oz and some of the other talented entrepreneurs that will be supported by our programme and I’m looking forward to seeing those I’ve met today thrive in their future business ambitions.”The Milton Keynes Accelerator hub is part of a network of 13 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 programme has supported more than 3,500 individuals and businesses, helping them achieve an average turnover of £301,521 and to raise £198m in total investments.Support on offer as part of the programme includes one-to-one coaching on topics including pitching, finding funding and leadership development. The scheme also introduces the budding entrepreneurs to a network of local business support organisations, plus providing free use of NatWest’s modern office spaceDeborah Lewis, regional ecosystem manager at NatWest, said: “We know that entrepreneurs are having to do several jobs at once, they need to be the CEO, finance director and HR manager and often without having any experience in some of those areas and without a support network.“The bank’s Accelerator programme is designed to help entrepreneurs be all those things whilst supporting them in running their business and providing a network for guidance and advice.”The Accelerator programme is open to any business with ambitions to expand and businesses do not need to be NatWest customers. Specially trained NatWest staff are on hand to help every step of the way as the entrepreneurs build their business skills.Applications open three times a year and more information can be found on https://www.natwest.com/business/business-services/entrepreneur-accelerator.html

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