Member Article

NatWest brings together like-minded entrepreneurs from the North of England to share sustainable best practice

A virtual forum organised for business owners in the North of England has given two local entrepreneurs a platform to share best practice and inspire future innovation as they build their green operations.

Naseef Ahammed, director of Reshift Limited from Leeds and Danielle King, founder of KIHT Collective from Manchester took part in NatWest’s virtual roundtable, where they discussed their experiences and challenges currently facing sustainable-focused SMEs, as well as dissecting where improvements could be made at local and national levels.

Both entrepreneurs have also been members of NatWest’s Accelerator, which aims to empower and upskill entrepreneurs and help them take their green businesses to new heights.

Reshift Limited was launched in December 2019 and uses a pioneering ‘Zero Carbon’ tool that helps businesses identify the carbon emissions behind each product or service they provide and compares them against competitors. The company’s mission is to support businesses on their transition towards net-zero and plans to expand its carbon database to account for every product supply chain in the world.

During the forum, Naseef Ahammed said: “For most businesses, it is not realistically affordable to put sustainability at the forefront of business plans. Greater support from Government and large banks can help to change this, particularly in the short term, where financial numbers are looking weak. Encouraging businesses to cut their carbon emissions by making it financially viable will go a long way towards encouraging sustainable businesses in the long term.”

NatWest’s recent Springboard to Sustainable Recovery report was also a topic of discussion. The report, published last month, sets out the potential that exists for the UK economy from the transition to net-zero, finding that SMEs could create up to 130,000 new jobs, produce around 30,000 new businesses and result in an estimated £160 billion opportunity for the UK economy.

It also found that the UK’s six million SMEs can achieve 50% of the UK’s Net Zero decarbonisation goals if they receive the right support through funding, knowledge, and training.

The virtual forum was chaired by Heather Waters, regional enterprise manager of the North West at NatWest. She said: “So many of the businesses we support through our accelerator programme are progressive and forward-thinking, with a true passion for bringing about positive change.

“NatWest is in a unique position, able to bring these business founders together and encourage conversations around creating more sustainable futures. As our Springboard to Sustainable recovery report demonstrates, there are so many opportunities for SMEs to have a real impact, particularly here in the North. We hope that, by bringing people together, we can help to create a strong business community of ambitious individuals with a similar ethos.”

Applications for the NatWest Accelerator programmes have recently reopened, with any UK business owner being eligible to apply. Applications close on Friday 17 December.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Rebecca Sweeney .

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