U.K.-based bank NatWest is to launch four new fintech hubs in Britain in a bid to boost confidence among U.K. entrepreneurs.
In a report from IBS Intelligence, the four hubs will be located in Bristol, Edinburgh, London, and Manchester. The fintech hubs will mentor 80 companies, introduce them to contacts within the Department of Trade and Industry, with computer technology provider Dell delivering technology and sales support.
Recent research by NatWest in its NatWest Entrepreneurship Monitor found that only 17 percent of people said that now was a good time to start a company. Notably, though, only 14 percent of people want to start a business, compared to the 39 percent three years ago. It’s believed this drop in numbers is due to Brexit.
Alison Rose, CEO of commercial and private banking at NatWest, said:
We understand that helping businesses succeed, not just through traditional lending but with full wraparound care, connectivity and know-how, is crucial if we want a strong economy. We also want our staff to develop entrepreneurial mindsets to help them think differently and to problem-solve in the same way business owners have to do on a daily basis.
Last May, British bank Barclays opened its doors to Rise London, the largest fintech co-working space in Europe. Based in Shoreditch, London, the bank’s new fintech hub will house over 40 of London’s businesses, including those in the Barclays Accelerator scheme for emerging startups, providing innovators a space to connect and share knowledge.
According to Barclays, the total funding raised by Accelerator companies since the launch is £28 million; over 3,500 companies have been involved; more than 3,000 applications have been received; over 1,000 experts, developers, and founders visit Rise London each month; more than 90 countries are working with Rise London; and 42 companies are supported by the Barclays Accelerator London programme, powered by Techstars, an American seed accelerator.
Despite the looming date when Britain leaves the EU, much is being done to maintain Britain’s lead as the number one fintech hub location. However, in order for London to remain relevant after Brexit, one British MEP believes that it should embrace the blockchain.
Earlier this month, Kay Swinburne, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), said that it was vital the country looked toward the technology, adding:
How does the City of London stay relevant? The City of London stays relevant by suddenly becoming the proponents of the new technologies and not just patching existing systems to make them work post-Brexit, actually leapfrogging.
Featured image from Flickr via Michael Randall.