Umerah Akram

  • "At LSEG and ELITE we remain passionate about proactively supporting companies from across the UK"

Commentary by Umerah Akram,
Head of ELITE UK, London Stock Exchange Group

In these challenging times, it is more important than ever to champion and support the UK’s growing companies. London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) continues to do so, through its public markets, broader thought leadership and publications such as the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report. Complementing this is the Group’s private market initiative ELITE. ELITE was set up with a vision to create deeper engagement between ambitious companies and capital providers at a global level.

Over the past few years, ELITE has worked with more than 1,500 companies from 45 countries and 36 sectors, providing them with the access to expertise, business insights and capital that they need to realise the next stages of their growth. The experience of each of our companies through the COVID-19 pandemic has been unique – some thriving, including those featured in this publication, while others have focused on continuing to operate through challenging circumstances.

To provide support during the COVID-19 pandemic, ELITE has provided valuable practical advice from our partners and stakeholders, not only to our members but also to the broader small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) community. We are helping companies devise resilient growth plans that consider five key aspects: people, sales, operations and supply chain, cost optimisation, and liquidity. Creating an action plan for each of these and tapping into expert advice will help companies emerge stronger and to ultimately make an impact on the economies in which they operate and employ staff. Entrepreneurs and management teams have valued the opportunity created by ELITE to share challenges and plan for their future.

Ensuring companies innovating across the country have access to the right capital at the right time will be key to the UK’s recovery and growth. Sitting at the heart of financial markets combined with our regional outreach, and through our connection with innovation creators and supporters, we believe that ELITE has much to contribute.

Building on our collaboration with Scottish Enterprise in 2019, we continue to partner with national and regional agencies across the UK, including the Development Bank of Wales and Business Wales. The UK’s response to finding solutions to COVID-19 challenges beyond healthcare has highlighted examples of research and innovation excellence which need to be showcased and supported by the broadest set of investors. ELITE’s private market, a platform connecting companies to a diverse range of professional investors, is therefore helpful to companies and sectors looking for capital as it exposes them to the investment community. ELITE companies have undertaken transactions worth £14bn, of which 28% have been on LSEG markets, highlighting the activity of SMEs and the continued need to ensure efficient access to private and public markets.

At LSEG and ELITE we remain passionate about proactively supporting companies from across the UK, working in collaboration with large and small businesses, capital providers, stakeholders and partners to help rebuild and reopen the UK economy.

You can read more about some of our companies in the ELITE chapter of this year’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report. To find out more download the report from here.