Minister for Small Business, Margot James MP met with businesses in Barclays' Notting Hill Eagle Lab on Thursday to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by growing SMEs and entrepreneurs.
The Barclays' Eagle Lab is one of nine sites across the UK focussed on supporting businesses through co-working space and providing tools such as 3D printers and laser cutters- aimed to help small businesses with their prototyping and digital skills.
The recently appointed 'Scale-Up Champion' met with senior officials from the bank and founders of businesses following the launch of the Government's Industrial Strategy Green Paper, to find out how financial services can support its ambition to grow entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country.
Small Business Minister, Margot James, said:
"With a record 5.5 million small businesses, the UK is already the best place in the world to start a business and we want to do even more to help those growing their ventures. The Industrial Strategy launched last week will address barriers to scaling up, with a particular focus on improving access to finance and management skills across the country.
"In my new role as Scale Up Champion, I look forward to working with hubs like the Barclays Eagle Labs to better understand and tackle the challenges facing entrepreneurs in taking their business to the next level."
Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business Banking said: "We are determined to support fast growing businesses across every stage of their journey and support the government's ambition to boost the number of British scale-ups. We believe the financial services industry has an important role to play in championing UK high growth companies that will go on to be future world-leading businesses. We provide specialist funding and relationship support for a wide range of businesses, from their start-up phase right through to growth and expansion, and by providing companies with space and tools to work in our Eagle Labs, we can help them to thrive, innovate and expand."
The minister met entrepreneurs and businesses who are based at Notting Hill Eagle Lab including:
- RATEACO – Joel Blake OBE (Founder)
RATEACO is a cloud business intelligence platform, designed to help small businesses predict who their most profitable customers will be. Through the power of data analytics, RATEACO enables businesses to make more informed decisions on who to focus their resources on and why.
- BrightLET, Shana Owen (CEO)
BrightLET is a cloud based lettings and property management platform that connects landlords directly with tenants. Providing interactive tools to let or rent, communicate and manage multiple tenancies – all at your fingertips.
- Fast Track Ventures /LIfTBioSciences, Alex Blyth (CEO)
LIfTBioSciences is a socially-minded Biotech start-up developing a portfolio of stem cell derived immuno-oncology cell therapies. The company is comprised of industry professionals and Prof Zheng Cui a world leading scientist in innate immunity derived cancer therapies, and partnered with Kings College London. The company successfully obtained initial funding from Merck Biopharma.
- Desolenator, Alexei Levene (Rainmaker)
Desolenator is a clean technology venture that has developed and patented what's on track to becoming the most affordable environmentally friendly method of water purification on the market. Their patented technology uses only solar power to purify water from any source, including sea water.
- Fire Tech Camp, Jill Hodges (Founder)
Fire Tech Camp are on a mission to teach young people to create and innovate through technology. They are a leading tech education provider, putting the power of technology into kids' hands so that they can create their own games, design smartphone apps, code like a pro, build robots to do their bidding, and learn much more in the fields of programming, engineering, design, making and the digital arts.
- Machido, Becca Patterson (Creative)
Machidio are a leading coding company who create coding and robotics courses and curriculum content.
- Next Dynamics, Alexander Straub (Founder)
Developing the NEXD1 which is the first 3D printer to have electronics and circuitry printing. With multi material capabilities you can use and combine 6 materials at the same time for millions of different characteristics and colours it is a compelling proposition for prototypers and makers alike.
- Prolific People, Laura Wellstead (Founder)
Providing a full end-to-end talent search service powered by data and embedding process and best practice, Laura's ambition is for Prolific People to be the strategic talent partner of choice for businesses in the digital and innovation space. Laura specialises in recruiting for customer, product, growth and leadership roles and is passionate about helping businesses to recruit smarter.
- Burntaxe, Tom Lamont (Founder)
Guitar design using laser technology. Burntaxe design founder Tom has been playing guitar since 2002 and runs his own design company. He's learnt what it means to have a reliable guitar, the importance of good communication and what makes a quality instrument that you want to play and is fun to play.
- This is Pod Ltd, Michelle Mealor-Stew (Founder)
UX Design and branding creating brands design frictionless apps and websites and create technical specifications for startups, second stage companies and established brands.
Barclays' High Growth & Entrepreneurs business recently announced an extension of its £200million loan fund for high growth businesses and in January this year, Barclays Business launched a new app to speed up business loans, enabling SMEs to receive funding in as little as an hour from application.
Barclays Eagle Labs are based in Birmingham, Brighton, Bournemouth, Cambridge (x2), Jersey, Norwich, Notting Hill and Salford.