On February 13th, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announced the establishment of a hub for new start-ups within its Edinburgh head office, which should be fully operational from May. This is Scotland’s first start-up hub of this kind.
RBS has already been involved in the active promotion of Scottish “financial technology” (FinTech), with for example, the joint establishment last year of the world’s largest free business accelerator platform Entrepreneurial Spark.
Entrepreneurial Spark – a collaboration of multinationals, such as KPMG and Dell
Entrepreneurial Spark is a FinTech business centre set up by RBS in 2015 with NatWest, a bank within its group. In collaboration with major international companies such as KPMG and Dell, the programme now has locations in 12 cities, notably London, Belfast, Manchester, and Birmingham.
According to information on Entrepreneurial Spark’s website, the newly established start-up hub is part of the Entrepreneurial Spark initiative at the Edinburgh head office, set up last year with the Scottish and UK governments.
Its aim is to help construct a wide-ranging FinTech network via promotion of the growth of start-ups based on the knowledge and experience fostered at Entrepreneurial Spark. Start-ups can participate in support programmes and benefit from the advice of FinTech specialists working for RBS.
The role of RBS and Entrepreneurial Spark as a source of FinTech development in Scotland is underlined by comments by Louise Smith, a Scottish FinTech envoy and head of design in personal and business banking at RBS, who sees the FinTech sector as key to Scotland’s economic growth.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, welcomed the expansion of Entrepreneurial Spark, and showed her overall support for the future development of FinTech
RBS is pursuing digital reform across its whole organisation, while it shuttters existing brick-and-mortar branches. This bold change of direction resulted from the changes in consumer demand, and the same trend is being seen across all other major banks.