Banco Santander said on Friday it will support thousands of SMEs in the North of England over the next five years as part of its new partnership with the Northern Powerhouse.
As part of the partnership, Santander will also place up to 5,000 interns over the next five years with businesses in the North of England.
“This forms part of the Santander Universities internship programme which matches and partly funds internship schemes for graduates from partner Universities with local SMEs,” said Santander.
The Santander Universities Programme places interns with local businesses — and 38% of interns go on to full time employment with the company they were placed in.
Santander also announced the opening of a “Work Café” in Leeds which aims to create a hub for nurturing new business ideas and fostering collaboration.
Susan Davies, managing director Santander Business said: “The Northern Powerhouse Partners Programme is doing a fantastic job of working with a range of partners to connect business, transport, education and skills and ultimately improve the economy for all who live and work in the region.
“We are delighted to be working with the Northern Powerhouse and are committed to Northern SMEs of all size, from start-ups needing space in our incubator for developing their idea, to fast-growing businesses with ambitions to expand overseas.
“We are well placed to support SMEs in the region through access to interns, our masterclass events and trade missions to a number of different countries as part of our International programme.”
Northern Powerhouse Minister, Jake Berry MP, said: “The major economic and social contribution that Santander makes to the Northern Powerhouse has been further strengthened today with their pledge to support SMEs from coast to coast across the North.
“The opening of their high-tech Work Café in Leeds with ultra-fast digital connectivity and free co-working spaces is just another example of how they’re helping to support SMEs and businesses on the high street adapt and flourish.
“I’m very proud to be working with Santander, through our Partner Programme, to boost the economy of the Northern Powerhouse together.”
In 2014, Santander launched a business incubator in Liverpool which provides space for budding new ventures and start-ups on a rent-free basis for the first 12 months.
Since launching, the incubation hub has successfully supported 63 early stage businesses including RentalStep, a platform helping tenants to boost their credit score.