Female entrepreneurs and small businesses to get support from Santander Breakthrough Programme

New initiative will be run in partnership with Cause4 to encourage growth, expansion and responsible business practices

A year-long initiative to develop a network for female entrepreneurs, encourage responsible business practices and support international expansion of social enterprises has been launched by the Santander Breakthrough Programme in partnership with social enterprise Cause4.

The project will be delivered across the bank’s five business regions with the help of regional boards, and growth history capital loans are available to businesses with annual turnover of up to £50m that have demonstrated high year on year growth in turnover, profit or employment.

It will encompass three schemes focusing on developing three key areas:

  • The Women in Breakthrough Network – a programme of mentoring, debates and networking events to encourage growth, expansion and support amongst peers and established entrepreneurs. Research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) found most female entrepreneurs prefer to collaborate with others in virtual groups, allowing them to grow and improve through shared knowledge and expertise.
  • The Social Enterprise Breakthrough Network – Despite numbering around 70,000, contributing £18.5bn to the economy and employing 1m people, there is little in the way of support for the UK’s hugely important social enterprises. This network will look to rectify this issue by providing a year-long training package for 20 enterprises with strong scale up potential – covering growth, income generation and international export.
  • Encouraging Responsible Enterprise – an initiative which will look to foster positive business practices in small and mid-sized enterprises and improve their bottom line. This will be achieved through philanthropy, talent development initiatives and community engagement.

Head of the Santander UK Breakthrough Programme, John Williams, said: “We are committed to helping people and businesses prosper. The Women in Breakthrough Programme has taken ambitious women on trade missions to potential export markets.

“It is vital that we support female entrepreneurs. The mentoring partnership with Cause4 is just one way in which we encourage more women in the UK to collaborate with one another and benefit from their mutual experience to find solutions and inspiration to help grow their business”.

Cause4 CEO, Michelle Wright, continued: “As a hyper-growth social business founded just five years ago, we understand the challenges faced by fast-growing small and medium businesses and how crucial it is to be able to access the right kind of support during this critical period in any company’s life.

“All of these activities will be led by established entrepreneurs that can provide practical advice to those growing businesses, enabling them to take their enterprise to the next stage of development.”

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