Barclays has launched a toolkit to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK get back on their feet as they navigate the uncertainty created by coronavirus.
The ‘Barclays Back to Business’ programme has been designed in partnership with the Cambridge Judge Business School and is open to all UK SMEs, in addition to the bank’s one million small business customers.
With research conducted May 2020 by Savanta showing that nearly two thirds of businesses (65%) reporting that they will change their business practises in response to coronavirus, the bank hopes that the programme will provide SMEs with the support they need to adapt.
The toolkit has been piloted with one hundred businesses from different sectors over the last few weeks ahead of a full trial launch on 22 June, with everyone from farmers to hairdressers trialling the programme.
The kit is designed to help business owners assess the overall health of their enterprise, and create a tailored resilience plan for challenging periods. It is packed with practical tools including a working capital calculator, cash flow forecasts, and guidance on managing supply chain relationships.
Andy Moss, CEO of Cube International Ltd, an events company based in Worcestershire, explained how he was looking for help: “Covid-19 has had a big impact on our industry, which is predominantly sporting events and music. Trialling the Back to Business toolkit has been very enlightening – it has not only refreshed my memory of the practicalities of running a business, but it has refocused my attention on the fundamentals. The next 12 months are going to be tough as we wait for the industry to return, but having the toolkit as an easy to follow resource will allow me to review new solutions for the business in the meantime.”
Christoph Loch, Director of Cambridge Judge Business School, adds: “Many entrepreneurs and businesses will be looking for new opportunities during this time, and we know they’ll be asking themselves what their strategy should be as they look to adapt to best serve their customers. During the online programme, we’ll lead businesses through that thinking, stepping away from the day to day operations to look at the opportunities and a longer term strategy with the help of our business toolkit.”
Hannah Bernard, Head of Barclays Business Banking, says: “We’re proud to provide a platform for business owners to hone their skills and access vital resources as businesses across the country continue to be impacted by coronavirus. We stand behind UK businesses and are always looking for new ways to provide help and support to entrepreneurs, business owners and sole traders across the country.”
The toolkit is the latest measure in a package of support rolled out by the High Street bank to support SMEs during this time. Barclays has facilitated £16.7 billion into the economy through Government lending schemes, delivering vital aid to businesses during the pandemic.
Earlier this month, the bank also launched a ‘Get Local’ partnership with Nextdoor, the neighbourhood hub, to help SMEs promote their skills and services to their local community in a safe way, and let them know that they are open for business.