Angelene Woodland

  • "The British Business Bank is delighted to return as lead sponsor of the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report for a third year"

Commentary by Angelene Woodland,
Chief Marketing Officer, British Business Bank

In a year that has been particularly challenging for businesses across the UK, the British Business Bank is delighted to return as lead sponsor of the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report for a third year. Smaller businesses have shown great strength and resilience that has allowed many of them to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is encouraging to see that 150 businesses featured in this year’s list have been supported by one of our British Business Bank programmes.

As the UK’s national economic development bank, our mission is to make finance markets work better for smaller businesses, wherever they are in the UK and we are integral to supporting the Government in leading Britain’s recovery, lighting the way for those businesses as they move from survival, to prosperity and growth once more. As the UK economy shifts its focus from stabilisation to recovery, we need to ensure smaller businesses can manage the many new challenges they face. While the British Business Bank continues to be a key element in the Government’s immediate response to COVID-19, supporting upwards of £57bn of finance to well over a million businesses at their time of greatest need, we are likely also to play a vital role in the recovery. As well as supporting continued finance to businesses as they emerge from the pandemic, we also have a key role in providing them with information on the wider choices of finance available to help them recover and grow.

A key instrument in delivering this information and support for smaller businesses is our Finance Hub, which provides independent finance information for businesses in the UK. With the advent of COVID-19, as more businesses have been forced to pause growth plans and focus on survival and recovery instead, we have similarly adapted our Finance Hub. Having originally been dedicated to providing support and information for high-growth businesses, the Hub also now provides vital, actionable information to support as many smaller businesses through this challenging period as possible.

As a bank, we remain committed to levelling up economic activity through regional access to finance across the country, so it is great to see such a diverse geographical spread in this report. Our regional funds, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, Midlands Engine Investment Fund and Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund, are dedicated to reversing the UK’s regional imbalances in smaller business finance, while our UK Network provides a network of relationship managers who are working across the country to improve regional access to finance. I hope you find the stories of business success in LSEG’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2020 report an uplifting reminder of the resilience and positivity of UK smaller businesses.