Tasked with nurturing a new generation of Scottish start-ups and scale-ups, Royal Bank of Scotland’s Entrepreneur Accelerator Hub in Glasgow is a vibrant hive of creativity and innovation


From the outside, Royal Bank of Scotland’s Kirkstane House offices on Glasgow’s St Vincent Street are unassuming. 

The historic daisy wheel logo projects from the front of the building, guarding the uniformed staff at the front desk below. It is comfortable, corporate, familiar – how a bank with a 293-year history should feel.
However, stepping out onto the first floor of the building feels an age away from traditional business banking.

For this is the bank’s Glasgow Entrepreneur Accelerator Hub, a space designed to help a new generation of Scottish entrepreneurs.
Crossing the threshold, the first thing that greets everyone is the scale model of the city’s famous Duke of Wellington statue, complete with the infamous traffic cone on its head.

Alongside, an oversized copy of Royal Bank of Scotland’s new £20 leans against a wall, with the image of one of Scotland’s famous entrepreneurs, Kate Cranston, emblazoned upon it.

The note has been dropped off in advance of a visit by two of the bank’s senior leaders, head of corporate and commercial Paul Thwaite and Katie Murray, the bank’s CFO and graduate from nearby Glasgow Caledonian University.

They are here to meet with some of the current cohort and the buzz in the room from the entrepreneurs in residence is enough to keep even the most avid banknote collector distracted.

In a breakout area with planisphere papered walls, Michael Tougher of Soundbops – a company created by the Glasgow School of Art graduate to develop and design musical building blocks that enable children as young as three to play and learn music, creating a steppingstone onto traditional instruments – is chatting with one of the team from Scottish Edge, who’s HQ is based in the hub.

Elsewhere, Vandana Pillai, founder of Bounce Back Drinks, a soft drinks company with an ambition to help cure those hurting from the night before, and Thiago Carmo, owner of Passion4Social, a creative design agency founded to create sustainable employment opportunities for people with disabilities, talk through a networking event they have just spotted with one of the bank’s directors.

These are businesses and individuals who, in normal circumstances, wouldn’t necessarily meet – and at early stages of development – not necessarily have a city centre space to operate from. But they do, along with an environment which is helping build success.

The facility, which was opened by Sir Willie Haughey in Glasgow two years ago under the guise of Entrepreneurial Spark, has helped support over 15,000 entrepreneurs across the UK, creating nearly 1,300 jobs and contributing in excess of £103million to the UK economy - with nearly half of all businesses supported through it, female led. 

Paul Thwaite, CEO for Corporate and Commercial Banking, said: “The vibrancy, excitement and diversity of start-ups and scale ups which are supported by our Scottish Accelerator Hubs show how crucial it is that we create a proposition which allows new businesses to thrive – and create networks which give people the confidence to grow their concept.” 

Our fully funded Accelerator provides businesses with office space in one of the bank’s Glasgow or Edinburgh hubs where they can enjoy free wifi and printing, with the programme providing focused support on the recognised barriers that entrepreneurs face, providing access to funding, new markets, infrastructure, leadership and coaching. 

Now the next phase in the bank’s entrepreneurial journey is underway. It has relaunched its digital programme as a bespoke self-serve learning providing more flexibility, allowing it to be completed in their own time, at a pace suitable to the individual, putting them in charge. Previously known as ‘Pre-Accelerator’, Business Builder offers lots of exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs across Scotland.

  • An online learning portal
  • Webinars and digital workshops
  • a Facebook community

The programme is also complemented by a variety of events, which are run by our Business Growth Enablers and other local partners.

It isn’t just a name change. As the bank strives to become the biggest supporter of SMEs in the country, the relaunch sees other revisions too. 
It will see Royal Bank of Scotland offer a business banking account without a monthly fee, and a ‘pay for what you use’ tariff. It is the first bank in Scotland and the UK to do it.

The bank will also offer 18 months of completely free banking to all new start-ups, meaning companies in this initial phase of growth aren’t charged for making transactions either, providing additional support for businesses at a critical stage. 

Susan Fouquier, MD, Business Banking, at Royal Bank of Scotland said: “As part of our revised strategy, Royal Bank of Scotland has committed to helping create 50,000 new businesses across the UK by 2023, and to support over half a million people to consider entrepreneurship as a career.

“Business Builder will provide budding entrepreneurs with the skills they need to get started with confidence, and combined with the account changes we’ve announced today, we’re proud to be able to provide a completely free platform on which the entrepreneurs of the future can build their own success stories.

“Royal Bank of Scotland might have been here for nearly 300 years but the way we bank – and the way everyone does business – is changing. 

“That’s why it is important we continue to grow and evolve our entrepreneur and SME proposition.

“It would be great if one of the entrepreneurs we support today grow and, like Kate Cranston, are celebrated by others in the future.” n
For more information, visit the Entrepreneur Accelerator site at: