The Prince's Seeing is Believing is about closing the gap between the boardroom and the community.

The programme was born in 1990 from a simple but powerful idea: to help business leaders see for themselves what a difference responsible business can make.

We are proud to offer unique learning experiences for senior business leaders looking at today's key responsibility issues.

Steve Pateman, Executive Director, Head of UK Banking, Santander UK invited peers to look at supporting small business growth.

Visit objective

The big challenge for the UK economy is how to achieve sustainable growth. There is an expectation that small businesses will be the engine for future growth. There are 4.5 million businesses in the UK and 99% of them are SMEs employing less than 250 people.

What was learned

From experience we know that large businesses have the capacity to support or sometimes hinder smaller businesses. As part of the visit, the delegates heard from successful small businesses about the barriers they have faced when trying to work with larger organisations. They also saw examples of large businesses who are working with small businesses to mutual benefit on a range of initiatives. The visit demonstarted that when big business works successfully to support small business, they are able to drive growth and regeneration in local communities.

Steve Pateman, Executive Director, Head of UK Banking at Santander UK said: “I've been truly inspired by the achievements of SMEs, yet sometimes they achieve in spite of big business, not because of big business. If every business member of Business in the Community put just one additional contract with an SME, that would really be a big contribution to creating jobs in our local communities.”

The visit coincided with the launch of BITC's new Enterprise Checklist, outlining practical steps big businesses can take to support SMEs.

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