Santander has been working with fast-growth companies for the past three years and now, with the UK economy expanding, its unique Breakthrough programme is helping more businesses go further
The UK is a nation of innovative, forward-thinking businesses, with a large number of firms setting aggressive expansion targets for 2015.
Research from Santander has identified the key growth drivers for these companies and has also revealed a group of “highly ambitious” businesses focused on even greater expansion.
The main areas for growth identified by businesses in a survey were clear: to increase their workforce, build customer numbers and reduce costs.
On top of this, they will be looking to buy new capital equipment (45 per cent), develop new products (41 per cent), and seek out new suppliers (33 per cent).
With the UK focused firmly on growth, the targets for those firms which describe themselves as “highly ambitious” are even higher: expand overseas, boost customer numbers and take on more staff.
The research reveals welcome levels of business confidence. These growing companies are the lifeblood of the British economy, as innovators and suppliers to big business.
They are also major employers, making up 60 per cent of private sector employment. However, they require tailored support in reaching their goals to ensure they fulfil their potential.
The research offers vital insights into what drives these high-potential businesses and, armed with this knowledge, Santander can support them in achieving their targets.
The Breakthrough programme
There is widespread agreement that mid-size firms are the backbone of the UK economy, a sentiment shared by IoD director general Simon Walker. However, it is also agreed that access to capital and support to expand internationally are vital factors in maintaining business confidence.
In order to identify and support these determined firms, Santander has established its innovative Breakthrough programme. Developed to help the best entrepreneurial businesses in the UK navigate challenges on the growth journey, it provides bespoke support and expertise across key areas.
The programme is now an important part of the business landscape for this crucial economic sector and offers a suite of initiatives aimed to nurture businesses and drive growth:
• Access to finance Breakthrough Growth Capital aims to offer a solution by offering qualifying firms between £500,000 and £50m from a fund of £200m in debt capital, which is intended to unlock the potential to achieve their growth targets and create new jobs.
• Breakthrough Moments Box This tours the country offering tailored expertise to an area’s micro economy.
• Masterclasses, digital networks and SME summits These bring in speakers from leading businesses such as Microsoft to offer expertise and secrets of their success.
All of which is paired with mentoring and knowledge from global experts and access to talent via connections with universities. These provide links to graduates seeking vital work experience. On top of this, roundtable sessions and peer-to-peer events offer unique networking opportunities that have to date brought together more than 2,900 business leaders, SMEs and entrepreneurs.
A recent survey reveals that one-fifth of all UK companies plan to export in 2015. For those firms described as “highly ambitious”, this figure rises to 23 per cent. Businesses are 11 per cent more likely to survive if they do export, however securing a sales presence abroad is often one of the biggest challenges facing SMEs – only one in five have done so. With the right support and access to expert help, many companies are more than capable of making the right steps towards becoming a viable exporter.
Santander’s Breakthrough Trade Mission initiative has taken more than 80 businesses to countries including Brazil, Mexico, the US and the United Arab Emirates and nearly a third of those companies that attended a trade mission have gone on to do business there within six months of their return.
Last year’s Small Business Income Index showed that SME income levels were up eight per cent on 2013 and that revenue levels have risen 20 per cent since 2000. These results and the positive sentiment from British business that has been revealed in the Santander survey must be sustained. It is with the help of tailored programmes for high-growth companies planning to expand and export that this confidence is likely to be maintained and enhanced.
For more information about the Santander Breakthrough Programme, visit
Unlocking business growth
High-potential businesses need a careful, tailored mix of advice and support to achieve their ambitions. The Santander Breakthrough programme offers help in these areas:
• Knowledge – access to expertise and advice
• People – the right mix of talent to drive innovation
• Digital – the technology to unlock growth potential
• Finance – capital to drive expansion
• International – support to turn a business into a viable exporter