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Scaling Up



Coutts will be taking part in an event designed to help entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level

3 min read

This month, many of the most dynamic and exciting entrepreneurs in the UK will come together in London to exchange ideas about how to transform start-ups into the next big thing.

The Great British Entrepreneur Scale-Up Conference will see up to 650 entrepreneurs, business people, and experts descend on 155 Bishopsgate as part of an event organised by Coutts, NatWest, and RBS.

Taking place on 20 November, the conference will see topics including trade, technology, talent, and funding covered by a range of high profile entrepreneurs and experts, as part of The Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

Entrepreneurs have become the driving force of the UK economy. According to David McKenzie, Managing Director and Market Leader, Coutts Entrepreneurs, people launching their own businesses make up “the vibrant part of the economy and entrepreneurship is something that the UK is known for”.

It was not always this way. A few decades ago entrepreneurs were seen as ‘Del Boy’ type characters that were generally sneered at. Now, they are what many young people aspire to become.

Indeed, the entrepreneurial lifecycle has changed in the last 20 years too, explains McKenzie, from one where people would set up their own firms at 40 and retire at 60, to a situation where people in their 20s are already launching businesses.

“Now, you’ve got youngsters in university who are starting companies and they’ve already got exit plans and are thinking about their second business,” he says.

“Entrepreneurs like nothing better than helping each other and sharing experiences.”

While many people may aspire to run their own businesses, the reality is that the majority of start-ups fail to get off the ground. Recent research in the US found that 50% of new businesses close within two years of launch. Therefore, getting help from experts is essential to allowing a start-up to survive beyond its first year and scale up into a thriving business.

How are entrepreneurs getting help? Accelerators have sprung up across the country in recent years to assist with scaling businesses. NatWest launched its Entrepreneurial Spark (ESpark) programme in 2015. Housed in old branches of NatWest and RBS, ESpark provides entrepreneurs with free offices and mentorship during a 12-month programme. September saw the 13th ESpark open in London, and Coutts was heavily involved.

The success of such programmes is clear, according to David. “People who go through ESpark benefit from an ecosystem where people help each other and have access to experts and mentors. The success rate is something like 85%. It makes a big difference.”

Expert advice is vital to any entrepreneur, and it’s the purpose behind the Scale-Up Conference. Coutts will host many of the countries leading entrepreneurial minds within three sections: the main hall and two smaller areas where there will be opportunities for one-to-one discussions and workshops.

Jenny Campbell, one of the new dragons on BBC1’s Dragons’ Den, is one who will be able to provide great insight to budding entrepreneurs. “She’s got a fantastic story. She joined NatWest at 16, before moving to London at 30 and doing extremely well. She was asked by RBS to run YourCash Europe in 2010, which she eventually bought. She sold the business last year for £50m.”

Other speakers include Brett Akker of Lovespace and Streetcar, Scale Up Millionaire author Gordon McAlpine, and Michael Hayman, Co founder of Seven Hills and the Chairman of the Coutts Entrepreneurs Client Group, who will be hosting a debate. There will also be sessions that build upon Coutts’s recent reports Life After Exit and The Long Goodbye.

Ultimately, the event is about bringing together likeminded people and affording them the opportunity to improve their businesses. “Entrepreneurs like nothing better than helping each other and sharing experiences,” says David.  


Coutts will be one of the hosts of the Great British Scale-Up Conference on 20 November in London. We're delighted to continue to help entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and plan their futures.

About Coutts Entrepreneurs

As the first private bank and wealth manager to establish a dedicated service for entrepreneurs and business owners, Coutts is well known for our understanding of the dynamic world of entrepreneurship.

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