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Expert in Residence Programme adopted at the LEP

13 November 2019

The Solent LEP is working with HM Government and NatWest to launch the Expert in Residence programme, which aims to increase the number of women based in the United Kingdom to move from intending to start a business to actually doing so

Following the publication of the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship a government-commissioned review into the barriers women in business face and what can be done to overcome them, we have appointed NatWest’s Aaron Britton to the role of Expert in Residence.

The aim of the project is to encourage collaboration and to deliver positive action supporting and profiling diversity and inclusion in business. Alison Rose, Chief Executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, and author of the Review of Female Entrepreneurship made eight recommendations to accelerate change, including 'Improve access to expertise by expanding the entrepreneur and banker in residence programmes'.

Following pilots of the initiative, we are one of the first to establish an Expert in Residence as part of the national roll-out. The purpose is for more female-led businesses to be encouraged and provided with knowledge and experience and ensure more female role model businesses are supported to grow and scale-up, creating jobs and opportunities.

Aaron outlined how he will be working with Solent LEP for one day a week supporting on projects, undertaking customer consultations to identify customer needs and signposting the most appropriate service options, including providing frequent and useful business information, advice, and updates via social media platforms.

Aaron continued: “I’m really looking forward to getting started with this fantastic new programme and I am so pleased to have been selected as the Expert in Residence for the Solent LEP. This role is a great opportunity to support my personal development and to provide local businesses with information and advice that will help them prosper and grow. Its focus is to support female entrepreneurs but not exclusively, and will include all business owners."

Our Deputy Chairman and Ambassador for Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Brian Johnson commented: “I am very pleased we have entered into this strategic partnership with NatWest to launch our new Expert in Residence programme. Having Aaron, a banking expert, on-board will be a huge asset to our team. Aaron has over 13 years’ experience in retail, business and commercial banking working alongside businesses to support them. His Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) accreditation, specialising in business enterprise and business support, gives the Solent LEP a unique opportunity in this region to proactively respond to the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship report to deliver positive action, support and confidence to women to take the step into business or grow their business."