Elevating support for SME businesses in the UK, Barclays has launched a toolkit to help firms navigate the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus. 

The ‘Barclays Back to Business’ programme has been designed in partnership with the Cambridge Judge Business School and is open to all UK SMEs, in addition to the bank’s one million small business customers.

Andy Moss, CEO of Cube International Ltd, an events company based in Worcestershire, commented on the new tool and its potential impact: “Covid-19 has had a big impact on our industry, which is predominantly sporting events and music. Trialling the Back to Business toolkit has been very enlightening – it has not only refreshed my memory of the practicalities of running a business, but it has refocused my attention on the fundamentals. 

“The next 12 months are going to be tough as we wait for the industry to return, but having the toolkit as an easy to follow resource will allow me to review new solutions for the business in the meantime.”

The toolkit has been piloted with 100 businesses from different sectors over the last few weeks ahead of a full trial launch on 22 June, with everyone from farmers to hairdressers trialling the programme.

The kit is designed to help business owners assess the overall health of their enterprise, and create a tailored resilience plan for challenging periods. It is packed with practical tools including a working capital calculator, cash flow forecasts, and guidance on managing supply chain relationships.

Christoph Loch, Director of Cambridge Judge Business School, added: “Many entrepreneurs and businesses will be looking for new opportunities during this time, and we know they’ll be asking themselves what their strategy should be as they look to adapt to best serve their customers. 

“During the online programme, we’ll lead businesses through that thinking, stepping away from the day to day operations to look at the opportunities and a longer term strategy with the help of our business toolkit.”

Hannah Bernard, Head of Barclays Business Banking, also detailed: “We’re proud to provide a platform for business owners to hone their skills and access vital resources as businesses across the country continue to be impacted by coronavirus. We stand behind UK businesses and are always looking for new ways to provide help and support to entrepreneurs, business owners and sole traders across the country.”

Earlier this month, the bank also launched a ‘Get Local’ partnership with Nextdoor, the neighbourhood hub, to help SMEs promote their skills and services to their local community in a safe way, and let them know that they are open for business.

Expert Analysis: Barclays’ launch comes at a pivotal time, as the economic impact of the coronavirus and the lockdown takes hold and SME businesses are faced with crucial decisions in order to ensure stability following the pandemic.