Klarna, the leading global retail bank, payments, and shopping service, has today launched a new £3m Small Business Support Package to help British SMEs recover from the pandemic.
The package comes as new research reveals a quarter (24%) of SMEs aren’t confident their business will survive the next two years with 46% of owners stating their main priority is to simply survive the next six months.
The Support Package will provide 100 retail SMEs with access to much needed support across different elements of their business, from office space and customer acquisition to advertising support. Specifically, the fund will provide SMEs with WeWork All Access for 3 months, complimentary use of Klarna’s Pay later products for one year and £15,000 of Klarna media services. Together this package equates to over £30,000 of support for each business.
The recipients of the package will be decided by a hand-picked panel of judges including Matt Vickers MP for Stockton South and Co-Chair of the APPG on Future of Retail, Alex Marsh Head of UK for Klarna and Mathieu Proust, General Manager, UK, Ireland & Emerging Markets at WeWork.
Support will be split across four categories:
Retail Innovator - For the small businesses who have been breaking barriers and bringing innovation to the retail industry Omnichannel trailblazer - For those leading the way on omnichannel retail, and creating exceptional cross-channel experiences for their customers. Sustainability Champion - Celebrating the retailers who have made a commitment to our planet, and champion sustainable retail as part of their business. Pandemic Impact - For those who have been heavily impacted by the pandemic - from physical store closures to impact on demand.
The Support Package comes after Klarna-commissioned research highlighted the specific issues senior SME leaders have faced in the past 16 months. It found that nearly two fifths (38%) of SMEs didn’t think that they’d survive the pandemic with a further 39% feeling they are still yet to recover. The impact on wellbeing is also startling, with 44% of SME leaders noting that pandemic induced business pressures had a negative impact on their mental health.
The initiative will also support those who want to make a positive impact on society, notably in sustainability. A third (32%) of SMEs want to make a positive contribution to society over the next 6 months and 50% are committing to focus on sustainability over the next year. As part of its 1% Pledge, Klarna is committed to supporting those who align with their climate goals.
Alex Marsh, Head of UK at Klarna said: “SMEs are at the core of our economy and it’s vital that they’re given all the tools they need to survive. At Klarna, we are determined to help small retailers navigate their way back to pre-pandemic levels and we hope that this fund, together with our Accelerator Program, will inspire and boost confidence across the SME sector.”
Matt Vickers, MP for Stockton South and Support Package judge said: “It has been a monumentally difficult year for our SMEs, and as we recover from the pandemic, it’s vital that we can provide all the support we can. Klarna’s £3m Support Package and Accelerator Program will be instrumental in rebuilding business health and confidence and I encourage every SME to get involved.”
Mathieu Proust, General Manager, UK, Ireland & Emerging Markets at WeWork, said: “WeWork is fortunate to be home to some of the UK's most exciting start-ups and SMEs and we know the power of the right resources, space and network on driving success. After such a challenging year for SMEs, we're looking forward to welcoming the Support Package beneficiaries into our community and to providing space designed for collaboration and innovation to help them grow and thrive.”
Alongside the Support Package, Klarna has also launched a ten-part Accelerator Program hosting a series of free training masterclasses with industry experts from various partners including Shopify, WeWork, Global-e, dotdigital and more to provide SMEs with actionable insights to boost their business.
The first of these sessions ran yesterday, with over 400 attendees and is one of many initiatives being undertaken by Klarna as part of its commitment to supporting SMEs.