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Klarna launches £3 million support package for Small and Medium Enterprises

Businesses will be able to get up to £30,000 each from the support package.

By Alastair James

Klarna has launched its £3 million Small Business Support Package to help 100 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the retail sector get back on their feet.

According to an online survey carried out by YouGov, just under half (46%) of SME owners’ main priority is to simply survive the next six months, with 38% of business owners worried that their business won’t survive the pandemic at all.

Just under a quarter (24%) of businesses surveyed weren’t confident they would last two years.

The personal toll of all this is clear, with 44% of senior managers feeling the negative impacts of the pandemic on their mental health. The generous support package will include free use of Klarna products for a year, as well as WeWork all-access passes and media support from Klarna to help with attracting new customers.

Beneficiaries will also get help in other areas including office space and advertising support, all in all, totalling £30,000 per business. 

The ten-part accelerator programme launched alongside the package will provide any SME across the UK with access to tips and guidance to help grow their business. 

Recipients will be decided by a hand-picked panel of judges including Matt Vickers, the MP for Stockton South and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Future of Retail, Alex Marsh, the Head of UK for Klarna and Mathieu Proust, the General Manager for the 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.

Research, commissioned by Klarna, 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 focusing 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 Klarna UK says: “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 says, “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 £3-million 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 in the 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 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

Applications are open until 8 September. To apply for the fund, click here. To attend the Accelerator Program, click here.