Klarna, the leading global retail bank, payments, and shopping service, has today announced the launch of a new £3 million Small Business Support Package to help British SMEs recover from the pandemic.
The package comes as new research revealed 24% of SMEs aren’t confident their business will survive the next two years, with 46% of owners stating their main priority is to simply survive the next six months.
The Support Package will give 100 retail SMEs with access to much needed support, providing them with WeWork All Access for 3 months, complimentary use of Klarna’s Pay later products for one year and £15,000 of Klarna media services.
The recipients of the package will be decided by a panel of judges including Matt Vickers; MP for Stockton South and Co-Chair of the APPG on Future of Retail, Alex Marsh; Head of UK for Klarna and Mathieu Proust; General Manager UK, Ireland & Emerging Markets for 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.
The Support Package comes after Klarna-commissioned research highlighted the specific issues senior SME leaders have faced in the past 16 months. It found that 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.
Alex Marsh, Head of UK at Klarna said: “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.”
Mathieu Proust, General Manager, UK, Ireland & Emerging Markets at WeWork, added: “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 Support 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