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A springboard to recovery: Building back better together

Here’s how the UK’s small businesses can confidently navigate today’s altered economic landscape.

Last updated: 09 Apr 2021 2 min read

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Emerging from the turbulent era of Covid-19, Britain’s business sector needs a boost to help it recover, and prosper, in a changed economic landscape. New NatWest research indicates that revitalised SMEs could be the answer – if they have access to personalised, targeted support.

The UK’s 1.4m SMEs represent a powerful engine of prosperity, with the potential to deliver as much as £140bn in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy by 2030 – and to create 3.2m jobs over the same period. But much of this exciting promise remains unrealised: on average, SMEs are significantly less productive than larger firms, and the structures designed to enable their growth often fall short of their goals. Only a fraction of small businesses participate in support programmes, and even fewer see real productivity gains as a result.

How can the vast potential of the UK’s SMEs be more effectively unlocked? NatWest’s research, incorporating data from a comprehensive array of surveys, reports, interviews and focus groups, shows that the greatest gains can be found in five key areas: SME productivity, scale-up density, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic representation, female entrepreneurship, and sustainability. If SMEs are intensively nurtured in all five areas, there will be rich prizes for the UK economy.

One potent finding is that personalisation is vital for any SME support programme: diverse SMEs require tailored solutions to strengthen their productivity and accelerate their growth. The NatWest research team has distilled eight ‘golden principles’ to guide programmes on this journey. With this blueprint, more businesses across the country can be reached, engaged, and helped to thrive and grow.

NatWest, with its unique access to communities and customers, will be investing £6bn in the effort to unlock SME growth in diverse communities across the UK. Together, we can build back better.

View the full report hereA springboard to recovery: infographic
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