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It’s about helping firms share best business practice, compete and grow

David Oldfield, group director and CEO of Commercial Banking at Lloyds Banking Group, explains why the organisation has decided to support Be the Business and its mission.

The world is changing for British businesses. Economies across the globe appear to be shifting gears, with many industries adapting to increasing automation, disruptive technology and changing regulation. The future for business is increasingly competitive and productivity is one important measure of competitiveness – one where British firms have been lagging for some time.

As part of our purpose to help Britain prosper, we have partnered with Be the Business to support their objectives to help British firms share best practice, compete and grow.

How Lloyds Banking Group is working with Be the Business:

  • Piloting  reduced-fee lending to businesses investing in their productivity
  • Contributing mentors to the Mentoring for Growth programme
  • Making a significant capital contribution to help increase Be the Business’ impact
  • Transferring our Apprenticeship Levy to SMEs to help them to train staff
  • Offering a bespoke Productivity through People programme to clients
  • Promoting the Be the Business benchmarking tool to our SME customers

Like any business leader I think about where the blind spots are in my operations. As competition increases and the environment changes, it’s important that we, as business leaders, identify these and work to address them. External, specialist support can be invaluable, and yet through its research, Be the Business is highlighting how few firms look to external support when it comes to making business improvements. These different perspectives, opinions and practical experiences can bridge the knowledge gap, ensuring we measure and focus on the things that will help us thrive in the future.

Undoubtedly, technology is impacting every area of business and daily life, bringing significant change and opportunities for improvement. However, technology alone doesn’t change a business – behaviours do. Creating the right culture, celebrating strong leaders, innovative managers and skilled employees will drive the behaviours that determine how well a company will adopt new technology and leverage new ways of working.

As part of our partnership activity to support British firms with this challenge, we are piloting a new productivity initiative to help small business leaders put learning into action. This initiative, initially focused on a cohort of businesses in the West Midlands, will help leaders – who have participated in the Be the Business Productivity through People programme – to access discounted lending facilities to finance investment in their business and funding to train apprentices.

As a bank we are here to help Britain prosper. Our role is more than just providing funding. We connect companies and share knowledge to drive confidence and enable action. Through our products and services, we help our clients run, develop and grow their businesses as effectively and efficiently as possible. We also continue to invest in free digital tools to bridge knowledge gaps and drive process improvements. The award-winning Lloyds Bank International Trade Portal, which helps businesses understand export markets, is a prime example. Similarly, our working capital benchmarking tool helps them to improve cash flow.

Through our partnership with Be the Business we are committed to being by the side of businesses, helping our clients reach the goals and ambitions that are important to them.

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