Designed by NatWest, the ‘Boost’ programme aims to support small businesses through a number of activities including a dedicated digital portal, the bank’s network of 77 Business Growth Enablers (BGE), and a series of local events, where they can connect with one another, meet potential partners and suppliers, and access hands-on expertise, business insight and training.
Small businesses who attended the latest Boost your Business event in Milton Keynes were treated to a series of engaging seminars on international trade, harnessing new technologies, developing digital skills and how to go from start up to scale up.
For Steph Davies, local entrepreneur and founder of silversmith business Scruffy Dog Silver, the Boost event was both informative and invigorating: "I’ve never been to anything like that before and came away with a head full of fizz and excitement! My 'business' is the smallest – just me – and I find myself increasingly overwhelmed by all the 'invisible' work needed to keep a small business going. Boost was just such a dollop of fresh air. I'm on a huge learning curve and had no idea there was so much support available. I can’t thank NatWest enough for a brilliant day.”
The keynote speech was delivered by NatWest’s Managing Director for Business and Private Banking Marcelino Castrillo, followed by Milton Keynes Dons Football Club Chairman Pete Winkelman who talked about the value of local networks.
NatWest’s Marcelino Castrillo said: "We know that small business owners today are looking for more than a provider of financial services. They want a bank that helps them to concentrate on what’s important to them - establishing and growing their business. Through our Boost programme and our team of Business Growth Enablers, business owners have everything in one place, giving them valuable time back to focus on just that.
“Boost is a free service to local businesses, whether they bank with us or not. Through Boost, SMEs and entrepreneurs can access experts, advice, resources and networking, where they need it most, here in their local communities. Since launching Boost at the end of last year, we’ve helped more than 150,000 small businesses across the UK tackle a variety of business challenges.”
Also attending the event showcase were NatWest’s strategic partners KPMG, DHL, Google and Worldpay, who helped small businesses to understand how to use new technologies to grow their business; and FreeAgent, the Edinburgh-based Fintech who is now providing online accounting software to NatWest small business customers.
Ed Molyneux, CEO at FreeAgent, said: "I'm really pleased to be able to take part and see how NatWest is supporting small businesses. Boost is real support at local and national level and the FreeAgent team is proud to be part of it.
“We're working closely with NatWest teams locally across the UK to help small businesses understand the benefits of our cloud accounting software. At these national events, we also share our insight and experience in how to scale up, which is often one of the challenges they face."