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Ana Botín, Head of Santander UK, speaks to students at Cranfield University (Disponible solo en inglés)

  • Ana Botin spoke to close to 100 students at Cranfield University about the state of the UK economy and the support the bank offers to higher education and entrepreneurs.

4 April 2014-. Chief Executive of Santander UK Ana Botin spoke on the importance of universities as cradles of research and entrepreneurship. Cranfield University and the bank are celebrating this month the sixth anniversary of the agreement signed with Santander, through its Santander Universities Global Division.

Since the partnership began in 2008, over £700,000 of philanthropic funding has been drawn down to support a wide range of activities and initiatives for students and staff, including scholarships, research and enterprise awards, internships and internationalisation projects. To date, 81 scholarships and mobility awards have been funded for students and staff.

During the meeting with the students Ms. Botin discussed the importance of entrepreneurs to ensure a sustainable economic recovery. She also highlighted the key role that SMEs play as the backbone of the UK economy. A good example of this is Leke Babalola, Cranfield alumnus and CEO of E-beeze Ltd, a bespoke mobile apps development and Solutions Company who spoke to the audience about his experience as an entrepreneur.

Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor, Sir Peter Gregson said: “It is in Cranfield’s DNA to support innovation and entrepreneurship. We pride ourselves on the innovative ways in which we provide students with the tools to turn their business concepts into reality. Today these entrepreneurs have shared their enthusiasm which will enable their new businesses thrive in the future.  We have seen some of those that have benefited directly from the support of Santander Universities funding which provides the opportunity to change lives around the world. We were also able to celebrate Santander’s support of our students and its transformative effect on their lives”.

Ana Botin, CEO Santander UK, said: “It has been a real pleasure to speak to the students of Cranfield University today. Cranfield has always been a reference in technology and business education and after visiting the university I have no doubt that this new generation of students will continue with this tradition. I am also certain that these budding business men and women will be a great asset to the UK economy with their new ideas, drive and enthusiasm”.

Ms. Botin also invited some of the beneficiaries of Santander funding to share their experience with all the attendees and how the support has helped them reach their goals. Jessica Harris a student just completing her MSc in Advanced Motorsport at Cranfield, said: “My funding support from Santander began with my undergraduate degree. The Santander scholarship to Cranfield has allowed me to pursue my dream and enabled me to attend the best university in the world for motorsport. As a result I have recently secured a Research and Development role with Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 team”.

On the same day Ms. Botin met with regional businessmen at an event where the Bank discussed funding opportunities for SMEs. The Bank is currently engaged in a nationwide programme to boost lending to small and medium enterprises to speed up the recovery of the UK economy.

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Cranfield University

Ana Botin, CEO Santander UK, during her visits to the university.

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