A report by The Co-operative Bank has found that small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in Wales are 15% more likely to see themselves as ‘community-focused’ than the rest of the country.
Research among the owners of SMEs all over the UK found that 83% of Welsh business owners saw their business as being particularly important to their local community. Many of these business owners felt they played an active role in community and 40% acknowledged that they provided jobs and wealth to local people, more than anywhere else in the UK. In 2018, the Welsh Government echoed these statistics, revealing that SMEs accounted for 62% of all employment and 40 per cent of turnover in Wales.
Other areas of the country which had ‘community-focused SMEs’ include the West Midlands and the North East (75%). Overall, one in 10 SMEs in the UK (13%) felt that the overarching purpose of their business was to provide jobs and services to the communities in which their business was based, and often said their business contributed in other ways including strengthening local charities and community work (23%).
Donald Kerr at The Co-operative Bank commented:
“SMEs account for 99.9% of all private sector businesses in the UK, as such, they are often make a vital contribution to the communities in which they are based. Local people will often rely on SMEs in their area, whether it is simply as a customer or indeed as an employee. It’s good that SME owners recognise the impact they have, and we must continue to support local enterprises.
“As the only UK high street bank with a customer-led Ethical Policy we understand that being ‘community conscious’ is a principle that sits at the heart of many local businesses, including our own. Recently we announced that we would be extending our free introductory offer for SMEs, giving businesses who choose to switch to us 30 months of free banking. We know that SMEs are the backbone of many UK communities, so we hope this offer will help prospective customers to continue to do great work at a local level.”
The Co-operative Bank has announced it will be extending its free introductory period for SME customers by a year. New Business Directplus customers will benefit from 30 months of free everyday banking, subject to certain transaction limits and a minimum credit balance of £1,000, making it the best-in-market introductory deal for the nation’s small businesses. The Bank has also chosen to extend this offer to existing customers who are still in their introductory period.
The Co-operative Bank currently looks after the banking needs of more than 85,000 SMEs, 700 co-operatives, 5,000 charities, and 279 credit unions.
The Co-operative Bank has a unique partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the UK’s largest membership body and voice of SMEs. In addition, in February 2016, the Co-operative Bank and Co-operatives UK partnered to form ‘The Hive’, the first co-operative development programme of its kind in the UK, which provides new business support for people wanting to start or grow co-operative or community enterprises, using a mix of online resources, training and advice.