Breakthrough Explained

Breakthrough Explained

Santander’s Breakthrough programme seeks to identify the best entrepreneurial companies in the UK and help them achieve their full potential. And here’s how we do it.

Three years after its inception, the Breakthrough programme of funding and support for high-potential SMEs is now an important part of the business landscape for this crucial sector. As well as a commitment to provide £200 million in Growth Capital to the UK’s most dynamic businesses, the Breakthrough programme offers a range of networking and mentoring opportunities.

SMEs play a central role in the UK economy, as innovators and suppliers to big business. They are also major employers, making up 60% of private sector employment. The Breakthrough programme acknowledges this by nurturing new businesses and driving growth through funding and mentoring via a range of key initiatives. 

Breakthrough Growth Capital

Growth Capital is a cost-efficient form of debt capital aimed at businesses with turnovers between £500,000 and £50 million. To qualify, businesses must demonstrate they are profitable, cash-generative, have with a strong management team and are growing their turnover at around 20% per annum.

Breakthrough International

Our Trade Mission programme, which has taken over 80 businesses on Santander-sponsored Trade Missions to Brazil, Mexico, the USA and the United Arab Emirates, can help support your business on its export journey. Almost 33% of Trade Mission delegates have managed to do business within three to six months of their return and a further 16% within a year. 

Breakthrough Masterclasses

Masterclassess offer delegates the opportunity to visit world-leading host businesses, such as Google, the McLaren group and Saatchi Masius and learn what sets them apart in their field. Many delegates have been inspired to change direction or refocus on other areas of their business after attending a Breakthrough Masterclass.

Breakthrough Talent

Breakthrough Talent can put participating businesses in touch with graduates or postgraduates looking for meaningful experience in business. It can also help businesses forge links with senior and experienced entrepreneurs, and introduces business founders and management teams to mentors.

SME Roundtables, Summits and Festivals

Our range of peer-to-peer events, including hands on workshops and high profile conferences, have brought networking opportunities to over 2,900 business leaders, SMEs and entrepreneurs. 

Breakthrough Social Enterprises and Responsible Growth

We work with Business in the Community (BITC) to support responsible growth and help SMEs to embed Corporate Social Responsibility into their growth ambitions and business plans. 

Breakthrough in Action

  • 93 businesses have been on a trade mission with 33% doing business on the back of it. 
  • Growth capital has helped 47 businesses with over £126 million of total facilities and creating more than 1,300 new jobs. 
  • 3,000 businesses have engaged with Breakthrough networking and mentoring events. 
  • Almost 2,000 interns have been placed with UK SMEs

To find out how the Breakthrough programme could nurture your business and drive growth, send an email to

Taking part in the Breakthrough Programme does not guarantee access to all these elements; the programme is tailored to meet the individual requirements of each business potential.


Where Next?

Suite of Support & Expertise

Meet British business legends face-to-face and soak up their expertise at exclusive events.
Support to find and keep the best talent, including access to 2,000 subsidised graduate interns.
Connect with the pick of 150,000 international contacts who can help you break into new markets.
Keep one step ahead by joining our exclusive online network of entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Funding beyond the ordinary, including a unique financing solution to fuel your growth ambitions.