The Santander UK Corporate and Commercial Banking team is supporting UK SMEs throughout the covid-19 pandemic through a series of webinars with leading industry professionals across various industries.

The ‘View from the industry’ series covers insights and important topics for business owners to learn tips for managing during this time and into the future.

More than ten webinars have been held so far looking into sectors like retail, food and beverage, automotive, manufacturing, life sciences and aerospace, alongside other workshops on crisis management and employer challenges.

John Carroll, Santander UK’s Head of International and Transactional Banking, points out that “the only way to soften the blow for economies and workers is to find new ways for businesses to grow and adapt to the new circumstances. Santander is well placed to help companies to adapt and expand, especially when it comes to internationalisation.

Portrait of a young male carpenter who works in his workshop using hand tools.

“While the closing of borders and restrictions on travel are causing moves toward local production, there are many cases in which a market does not have the technical capacities locally and this relies on experienced overseas companies who can operate at an international level. These shifts are affecting import supply chains in countries like the UK as well, where new solutions are required as businesses reevaluate their supply chains and how they produce overseas. Solutions which the global ecosystem of banking and non-banking partners which Santander have developed make us uniquely well placed to provide.”

You can visit the Santander Corporate Banking website to watch replays of the previous webinars or sign up for new events still to come. 

You can also read the key insights from each of the past webinars and short summaries below.

Summary of key insights

  • Chemicals: deal with the crisis, but keep an eye on the future

    Santander UK’s chemical sector adviser, Susan Brench, says: “As a result of the crisis, this type of manufacturing will require a smaller physical footprint, increased flexibility and enhances process safety to drive up standards and satisfy regulators’ stringent requirements.”

  • Life sciences rise to the challenge of coronavirus

    The UK life sciences sector is worth GBP 74 billion and employs 241k people. As the UK accounts for just 1% of the global population, it’s important that these companies have the opportunities to sell into global markets. Telemedicine is an area that is opening up as a result of covid-19 and the UK has many innovative businesses that specialise in these services.

    Santander is continuing to work closely with our partners and customers in the life sciences sector, many of which are in the frontline of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Santander hosted a webinar and subsequent weekly catch up events with Stephen Phipson, the CEO of Make UK. In a recent talk, Phipson discussed manufacturers’ response to the pandemic, including on ventilators, testing kits and personal protective equipment, but also about future opportunities for the sector as we emerge from the crisis.

  • Polarisation in retail and wholesale: what this means for the UK economy

    In the UK alone last year there were GBP 400 billion pounds in retail sales and 3.1 million people rely on the industry for employment. Coronavirus has had a very different impact on sub-sectors of the industry and we hope that by discussing the views of experts in the field we can help businesses to find ways to prosper beyond the crisis.

    While like for like retail food sales were up 4.9% in the first three months of 2020, non-food retail sales dropped by 6.7% in the same period. Though some sub-sectors, like computers, board games and video game consoles, have been boosted by demand from individuals confined to their homes. E-commerce has also grown steadily as a result of the lockdown, with non-food sales up 18.8% in March, but research suggests about a third of shoppers had experienced technical difficulties making online purchases which presents an excellent opportunity for ecommerce businesses to look at performance and reliability of their sales platforms.

  • Effects of coronavirus on the Food and Beverage sector

    Mass closures of restaurants, cafes and bars and bans on social gatherings have put food services businesses under intense pressure. Restaurants shifting to online ordering platforms or contactless collection services could lead to a longer-term trend towards takeaways even when the current lockdown rules are relaxed. While food distribution businesses which had previously supplied the hotel, restaurant and café sector, have quickly pivoted to the B2C market, supplying consumers directly through online platforms.

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