Bank pledges support to SMEs in the North in partnership with the Northern Powerhouse

Businesses across the North will be able to access tailored support over the next five years under a new initiative launched by Santander.

Santander is one of more than 230 businesses to have joined the Governments Northern Powerhouse Partner Programme. PHOTO: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images.

The bank has joined the Government’s Northern Powerhouse Partner Programme, which is an attempt to build a network of partners from the business sector – over 230 to date – who believe in the Northern Powerhouse concept and support the need for a combined effort by government and business to realise its potential.

As part of its partnership, the bank will place up to 5,000 interns over the next five years with local businesses. This forms part of the Santander Universities internship programme, which matches and partly funds internship schemes for graduates from partner universities with local SMEs.

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Susan Davies, managing director Santander Business, said: “The Northern Powerhouse Partners Programme is doing a fantastic job of working with a range of partners to connect business, transport, education and skills and ultimately improve the economy for all who live and work in the region.

“We are delighted to be working with the Northern Powerhouse and are committed to northern SMEs of all sizes, from start-ups needing space in our incubator for developing their idea, to fast-growing businesses with ambitions to expand overseas.

“We are well placed to support SMEs in the region through access to interns, our masterclass events and trade missions to a number of different countries as part of our International programme.”

On Thursday, Santander announced a further commitment to the North with the opening of a Work Café in Leeds, which is increasingly attracting digital talent as the busiest financial hub outside London.

The bank said the Work Café aimed to create a “vibrant hub for nurturing new business ideas and fostering collaboration in a relaxed atmosphere”.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry MP said: “The major economic and social contribution that Santander makes to the Northern Powerhouse has been further strengthened today with their pledge to support SMEs from coast to coast across the North.

“The opening of their high-tech Work Café in Leeds with ultra-fast digital connectivity and free co-working spaces is just another example of how they’re helping to support SMEs and businesses on the high street adapt and flourish.

“I’m very proud to be working with Santander, through our Partner Programme, to boost the economy of the Northern Powerhouse together.”