Finance · 1 March 2017

High Growth and Entrepreneurs: An inside look at Barclays? charge to support UK enterprise

High Growth and Entrepreneurs is representative of a new approach taken by banks to offer more to business customers
High Growth and Entrepreneurs is part of Barclays? business proposition, aiming to support ambitious founders in Britain through financial advice, expert support networks and the Eagle Lab startup working spaces.

The banking world has acknowledged the need to extend the traditional responsibilities of a lender. Through Entrepreneurial Spark, NatWest has supported UK entrepreneurs with investment in growth accelerators across the country, offering startup incubators and access to business mentors.

Meanwhile, Lloyd’s Bank has been enlisted by the government to support digital skills development in Britain, with a seat on the Council for Digital Inclusion.

Barclays’ High Growth and Entrepreneurs offering is led by Richard Heggie one of our Small Business Decision Makers for 2017 who sat down with Business Advice to explain the approach taken by Barclays to support the nation’s small business owners.

Despite the competition, Heggie maintained that the High Growth and Entrepreneurs holistic? approach sets Barclays apart.

were offering more than just a bank account and an overdraft. For us the focus is on the entrepreneurs and the startups, Heggie told Business Advice.

the benefit of what you get in banking with Barclays is access to people who understand the entrepreneurial journey and can be a couple of steps ahead of where you are. It gives you the confidence of knowing you have that trusted advisory network to help you through those challenges, he added.

Heggie outlined the three pillars that defined Barclays? approach to enterprise development a relationship management model that brings the expertise within Barclays directly to the business owners, a funding model that looks to find the right funding for the right stage of the business, and a beyond banking? outlook.

where we differ from other banks is through products like innovation finance part of our high growth lending proposition, where we lean in and provide working capital financing from post-seed upwards. That’s different to other banks. Funding is a core part of our offer, he explained.

In terms of what the Eagle Labs can offer, Heggie highlighted the access to rapid prototyping facilities like 3D printers, but also emphasised the benefit of immersing yourself in an entrepreneurial environment.

it’s your ability to sit opposite other companies who are on similar journeys and can understand the challenges of being a startup, because it’s a lonely business, starting out and scaling up, he said.

Clearly, there is a recognition among banks that more can be done to feed expertise down to business customers.

if you look at the UK now, you’ve probably never had as many options in terms of funding sources available to you, whether that’s government grants, angel investors, crowdfunding, you can find ways in which you can start your business and get support for it. But what I don’t think you have in the UK is the equivalent focus on developing the skills expertise needed to grow and scale. Trying to put investment into the skills side is so important to UK productivity and growth, he said.

Head of High Growth and Entrepreneurs Richard Heggie
Head of High Growth and Entrepreneurs Richard Heggie
Heggie added that Barclays intend to invest in the skills and leadership side where the gaps often appear among British founders.

He said: As a startup owner you are very focused on what is in front of you setting up your bank account and getting your company registered. Your priority is getting that product out. Getting your first sale really is the most exciting thing, but converting that into a business is something different, and then turning that business into something that is growing, expanding and scaling is a different set of challenges.

The scale up gap

With sweeping political change in the past year having an impact on global markets, Heggie remained optimistic of the potential for entrepreneurial success in post-Brexit Britain.

the challenges of growing are always there. Uncertain environments are never good for business but there is always great opportunity there, he said.



Praseeda Nair is an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

Managing Your Fleet