Interview: William Railton speaks to Santander north west area director Jo Phipson

What is Santander’s Breakthrough Moments Box?

The Breakthrough Moments Box is a five day festival aimed at ambitious SMEs and local entrepreneurs. The Box is part of Santander’s Breakthrough programme, a unique suite of business support to help SMEs with their growth ambitions, including expanding their horizons beyond the UK. The Box, which is touring the UK throughout 2015, is a versatile space for businesses to meet and share ideas and expertise. Sessions include the importance of an inclusive corporate culture and the efficient use of technology, and common legal mistakes to avoid.

How are you helping SMEs break into foreign markets?

Lack of market intelligence and connections can be the most difficult obstacles when trying to take a business abroad. Santander has more branches globally than any other bank so we have a high level of market knowledge and the international facilities necessary to allow our customers to flourish. Along with the Box, we have the Santander Trade Portal, which connects UK businesses with foreign companies importing similar goods and services, and offers trade information from 185 countries. Our Santander passport service is designed to help your international subsidiaries, and to facilitate customers’ import and export operations between the UK and a number of countries across South and Central America, as well as Europe.

How are you helping women entrepreneurs?

Research suggests that women in business can be more collaborative and supportive than men, and at times are driven by different motivations. We provide support groups tailored to those perspectives, and methods to ensure women achieve more. One of our recent trade missions, which allow representatives of SMEs to spend a week in a foreign market, was women-only. These women went to New York to learn about the US market and forge valuable ties for exporting their products. It was a great success and inspired us to set up a women’s mentoring programme with social enterprise Cause4.

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