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Barclays augments small business support with free seminars


As part of its ongoing commitment to provide practical support to small businesses and help them through these uncertain times, Barclays today launches its ‘Let’s Talk’ seminar programme, focusing on setting-up, surviving and thriving in this climate.

Let’s Talk, which is scheduled to run more than 500 events throughout the UK in 2009, beginning this week, are free of charge and open to all individuals thinking about starting a business and existing small business owners.

The seminars focus on the key areas that make a difference to businesses and reflect the key challenges they face today. The seminar programme is as follows:

* Let’s Talk Business Ideas run in conjunction with the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies (NFEA) for people thinking about setting up – looks at how viable the idea is and whether they have the right skills to make it happen.
* Let’s Talk Starting in Business run in conjunction with the NFEA for people who are about to set up – focus on how to write a good business plan, sourcing finance, managing cash flow, legal requirements, taxation and VAT and marketing. Due to the success of these last year they will run in 15 new areas across the UK.
* Let’s Talk Bright Marketing - how to attract and keep your best customers, identify and satisfy your customers’ needs more profitably and see yourself as your customer sees you.
* Let’s Talk More Profit – increasing your profit is always important but how do businesses go about it.

John Davis, marketing director for Barclays Local Business said: "Barclays ‘Let’s Talk’ seminar and workshop series is part of a comprehensive effort designed to support small businesses in 2009. Educating small business owners is at the heart of Barclays Local Business and is even more important during these economic times. In the past three years we provided training to more than ­­40,000 business owners, giving them the essential skills to run a successful and profitable business; the training and seminars also give businesses a great networking opportunity to potentially create more business.”

George Derbyshire, NFEA Chief Executive said: “More than ever, new and prospective small business owners are looking for advice and support to help them. We are delighted to be contributing towards Barclays award winning enterprise support programme by delivering a national series of training events under the “Let’s Talk” banner. It’s a powerful message of commitment to new businesses from both the Bank and NFEA members across the country.”

To book onto seminars businesses can visit or call 0800 515 462.

Other actions to support SMEs

* Barclays currently has approximately £15 billion in lending balances in place with SME customers in the UK market, up six per cent year-on-year.
* Barclays is committed to making at least a further £1.5 billion available to SMEs in 2009, bringing its total commitment to around £16.5 billion by the end of 2009.
* Barclays is making available its CreditFocus service free of charge to all UK small businesses in 2009, whether or not they are a Barclays customer.
* Barclays is the leading bank on the recent Government initiative on European Investment Bank (EIB) support. It has negotiated with the EIB a relaxation in the customer qualifying criteria for an EIB-backed loan and have committed to passing on the financial benefit of this in full to the borrower. Barclays was the first in the industry to draw a new EIB loan.

Products/services supporting SMEs

* A choice of tailored small business accounts and the provision of up to two years free banking to start-ups, subject to remaining in credit.
* Day-to-day small business banking support through an award-winning team of Business Managers who are available by telephone for routine and/or urgent banking needs during the day, evenings and weekends.
* A support line that customers can use to talk directly to a Barclays lending specialist to discuss additional financing options.
* Free consultation for small businesses with a local accountant, marketing expert and/or solicitor who can provide advice on a variety of topics.
* A free nationwide small business seminar and workshop programme, which is designed to help small business owners network and gain practical help on relevant challenges such as marketing, trading online or how to generate more business profits.
* Business management software that helps complete account work quickly and efficiently; supporting hiring efforts; help backing up their business data securely; and avoiding late payment and bad debts.
* A free ’Business on a Budget’ booklet that provides advice on how to beat the downturn and a free Business Healthcheck guide that focuses on the three key areas of cash, profitability and management.


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