The number of SMEs in the North West increased by 4.3% year-on-year to March 2014, which represents around 9,000 new businesses. According to analysis of the latest official data* by Santander Corporate & Commercial, overall the region now has 215,780 SMEs, with the most in Greater Manchester (78,665) followed by Lancashire (38,345) and Merseyside (30,645).
The analysis found that the five fastest-growing sectors in the region are business administration (up 9.8% year-on-year); professional, scientific and technical industries (9.5%); IT and communications (8.5%); health (6.5%); and transport and storage (5.5%). In terms of absolute numbers, the top three sectors are now the professional, scientific and technical sector, with 36,050 businesses, followed by construction (24,260) and retail (21,070).
To showcase the best of the North West’s SME sector and also Santander Corporate & Commercial’s extensive support for businesses in the region, the bank is running the Santander Breakthrough Moments Festival across 29 June to 3 July at 2 Spinningfields Square, Deansgate, Manchester M3 3AE. The five-day event consists of free-to-attend masterclasses and focused events aimed at ambitious business owners and local entrepreneurs.
The venue for the festival – Santander’s Breakthrough Moments Box – is a versatile space for the business community to meet and share ideas and expertise with a range of stakeholders, and a number of local and UK businesses will be on hand to share their own success stories and insights. Microsoft, for instance, will deliver a masterclass on maximising technology for business growth, while other speakers will include representatives from UKFast, UKTI, Cause4, Bike Right, Salford Business School, the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation.
Santander Corporate & Commercial will also use the event to announce a new and innovative £40 million fund to invest in local SMEs in partnership with Manchester-based venture capital firm Enterprise Ventures and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund.
Damian McGann, Divisional Managing Director – North West, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “The North West has always had a very strong base of small and medium-sized businesses and it is great to see the continued development and growth of businesses across a broad range of sectors. I believe the North West has the potential to support even stronger growth in its business base and to lead the UK as a business powerhouse.
“Santander has been growing its own presence in the North West. We believe that the support we can provide to ambitious SMEs through initiatives such as our Breakthrough programme, which includes our Growth Capital lending programme, offers a highly differentiated service for businesses. The Santander Breakthrough Moments Festival will be a unique event aimed at providing genuine insight and support for the local business community. We have developed a strong programme of speakers, discussions and events, and I believe all stakeholders will find real value in taking part.”
From 2011 to mid-2015, Santander Corporate & Commercial has grown net lending to SMEs in the North West on average by more than 10% per annum, and over the past three years £1.6 billion of gross lending has been provided to SMEs in the North West region. The Santander Breakthrough Moments Festival in Manchester is part of a UK tour taking place across 2015 which will see Santander’s Breakthrough Moments Box visit key towns and cities in the UK. Further information on the event in Manchester can be found at http://www.santandercb.co.uk/content/manchester-breakthrough-box-live-event.
The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.
Notes to editors
Additional analysis of the IBDR, requested by Santander in June 2015 reference 004270. SMEs include all firms with up to 250 employees.
Santander Corporate & Commercial provides dedicated relationship banking support to businesses with a turnover of more than £250,000. It is part of Santander UK, a leading financial services provider in the UK which offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 31 December 2014, Santander UK serves around 14 million active customers with c. 20,000 employees, 921 branches and 66 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.
Banco Santander (SAN.MC, STD.N, BNC.LN) is a retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, with a presence in 10 main markets. Santander is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1.34 trillion in managed funds, 107 million customers, 13,225 branches – more than any other international bank – and 183,648 employees at the close of June 2014. It is the largest financial group in Spain and Latin America. It also has significant positions in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Germany, Poland and the northeast United States. In the first half of 2014, Santander registered EUR 2.756 billion in attributable profit, an increase of 22% from the same period of the previous year.
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