RBS’ opulent exec wing to be handed over to SMEs » SMEInsider

RBS’ opulent exec wing to be handed over to SMEs

The flashy executive suite of disgraced former bank chief Fred Goodwin is to be turned into a small business hub.

Scottish SMEs will be able to use the space to network with other directors and secure mentoring from experts, with up to 80 entrepreneurs allocated office space and free wi-fi to help them get their business off the ground.

Based in Gogarburn in West Edinburgh, the new hub will include dedicated space for representatives from Entrepreneurial Scotland The Princes Trust Scotland, who can also offer help and support to promising startups.

“We are opening up our headquarters so that we can support Scottish businesses of tomorrow, not just with infrastructure, but through the chance to collaborate with experts and other like-minded business owners,” said RBS’s chief executive Ross McEwan.

The move is thought to be part of efforts by RBS to improve a reputation that has been seriously damaged by a series of scandals, as well as the excessive spending of the bank’s executives in the run up to the financial crisis.

So, while small businesses may struggle to secure a loan from the 80% taxpayer-owned bank, they may nonetheless have a chance to glimpse the luxurious furnishings and pricy artwork that adorn the £335m complex, built amid 100 acres of woodland at the height of Goodwin’s excess.

Sadly, however, it seems unlikely that the building’s notorious “scallop kitchen”, purpose built to cook up Goodwin’s favourite dish, will be kept open for the resident SMEs.