Its new offering is an expansion of its Breakthrough initiative, which it describes as “rocket fuel for business”, and covers five key areas: Knowledge, Talent, International, Connections, and Finance.
The launch is part of Santander’s plan to “further disrupt and enhance the UK business banking market” and double its current SME market share to 10 per cent by the end of 2016.
It’s been developed based on four years’ experience of working closely with UK businesses and, according to the bank, looks to accelerate the plans of more ambitious SMEs.
It means that firms will be able to tap into support such as meeting British business legends face-to-face; help to source and keep the best talent, as well as access to 2,000 subsidised graduate interns, and connect with a pool of more than 150,000 international contacts who can help them tap into new markets.
It also features an exclusive online business network of entrepreneurs and business leaders, and unique financing solutions to help fuel growth ambitions.
The development follows a bout of recent research conducted by Santander Corporate & Commercial, which found that around a third (36 per cent) of UK firms describe themselves as ‘highly ambitious’ and that this segment are more likely to grow, trade globally, foster positive networks and partnerships, and hire more staff. The study found that increasing their customer base is their primary business aim; it also revealed that they need a dedicated relationship-based banking service, a programme of focused support, and are more likely to switch banks in the search for service.
Santander says ‘International’ is a core pillar under Breakthrough given that trading internationally and exporting, as well as developing relationships with overseas suppliers, has become a key consideration for many UK businesses looking to grow. The research found that 56 per cent of highly ambitious businesses already trade internationally and a quarter (23 per cent) said they will look to expand further into international markets in 2015.
Marcelino Castrillo, head of SME at Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “We have developed an unparalleled understanding of what the UK’s most successful and ambitious businesses need from a banking partner, and have brought this together into our new Breakthrough proposition. For example, the Trade Portal offers incredible insights into exporting opportunities while our unique Santander Universities and internships programmes are focused on connecting businesses with the right employees.
“Ambitious SMEs are the beating heart of the UK economy – they are more likely to expand, innovate and trade across borders. Santander has unique strengths that can help meet these needs, including innovative financing solutions and a relationship banking ethos built on our Simple, Personal, Fair principles. By creating a distinctive, unique and innovative programme, tailored to the needs of ambitious SMEs, we are confident that we will become the bank of choice for ambitious SMEs.”
To help businesses trade internationally, Santander also offers a range of services, such as the online Trade Portal and the Trade Club – a network of five million SMEs based all over the world which bank with Santander.