Spark of Recognition for RBS

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is this year’s winner of the Scottish Financial Services Awards 2015.  The company was recognised for its partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark creating a network of start-up business accelerator hubs across the UK, giving new enterprises free access to a range of support and guidance.

RBS fought off stiff competition from three other finalists - LINC Scotland, Avaloq and the Glasgow Economic Leadership.

Receiving the award at SFE’s annual dinner in Edinburgh last night, Gordon Merrylees, Head of Entrepreneurship at RBS said:

"The teams at RBS and Entrepreneurial Spark are delighted to win this prestigious award and, as the only bank providing free business accelerators for early stage and start-up businesses across the UK, we would like to thank the judges for recognising the success of this partnership.

“We have worked hard with Entrepreneurial Spark to provide support to thousands of entrepreneurs across the country. By 2017 there will be at least 13 hubs across the UK, based in Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Ulster Bank buildings, supporting around 7000 entrepreneurs over a 5 year period. In February next year we will be opening an Entrepreneurial Centre in our headquarters in Edinburgh which, along with 80 Entrepreneurial Spark "Chiclets", will also house and support organisations such as Entrepreneurial Scotland, Prince's Trust , Business Gateway and Scottish EDGE."

Jim Duffy, founder and Chief Executive of Entrepreneurial Spark, said:

“I’m thrilled for the team at RBS on their award win, as Entrepreneurial Spark’s recent success and expansion is largely due to the fantastic support which we have received from RBS. Since the beginning of the year together we have launched three new Hatcheries in Brighton, Bristol and Leeds, announced the opening of Hatcheries in Manchester, Cardiff, Belfast, Milton Keynes and Newcastle in 2016 and London in 2017, alongside expanding into India. 

One of the most exciting ventures of all is the opening of a Hatchery in RBS's Gogarburn headquarters in Edinburgh – especially given the city’s place as a destination of choice for world leading tech entrepreneurs. This is a strong signal from RBS that the bank is determined to support entrepreneurs across the UK by welcoming them into the heart of their organisation. It has been an incredibly busy and exciting year for Entrepreneurial Spark and there is no doubt that the expert advice and support which RBS provides Chiclets, and the organisation as a whole, has played a huge part in this.”

Presenting the award, Sir Ewan Brown CBE, Chairman, Scottish Financial Enterprise said:

“RBS is being recognised for the unique and highly successful partnership it has forged with Entrepreneurial Spark, giving real support and assistance to new businesses. This is a true example of diversification in financial services, giving support to entrepreneurs in practical terms when they need it most.  I congratulate RBS for not only receiving our award but for the success of their accelerator Hatcheries across the UK.

“All of our 2015 finalists are shining examples of the strength and success of the Scottish financial services industry and should be congratulated for the contribution they are making to customers, the industry and the wider economy.”

George Reid, Head of Financial Services, Scotland and UK Regions, EY said:

“This is the sixth year EY has sponsored the SFS Award, during which time we have seen great variety in the nominations. This diverse and accomplished alumni represents the very best of the Financial Services sector in Scotland.

“One key theme with this year’s nominations is the importance of technological and digital innovation. Technology is changing the way we do business and how we interact with our customers in Financial Services. Harnessing new technologies will create new sources of income and employment, produce new and innovative products and services, and hopefully build a better world for the consumers of our products. I’m delighted that these themes are reflected in this year’s Scottish Financial Services Awards.”

The other finalists were:


  • for commitment to Scotland by continuing to expanding their high tech development centre in Edinburgh.

LINC Scotland

  • for winning a contract with the World Bank to share Scotland’s experience and assist with the development of business angel markets in the Caribbean and potentially elsewhere internationally.


  • for the launch of the foundation apprenticeship in financial services.



  1. The Scottish Financial Services Awards led by Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) sponsored by EY and supported by The Scotsman, judges entrants on their contributions to Scotland's standing as a financial centre, their long term perspectives, the benefits for customers and their innovation and imagination.
  2. Scottish Financial Enterprise is the representative body for Scotland's financial services industry, with members ranging from global companies headquartered in Scotland to small, locally-based support businesses. 
  3. Contact:  Elaine Ravenscroft at SFE on 0131 247 7700