Who is the programme aimed at?

Breakthrough is aimed at enterprises that can demonstrate a track record of growth in their turnover or profitability, along with achievable ambition within their business plans.

Am I eligible? 

Enterprises that generate wealth or jobs or inspire others could qualify for Breakthrough. However, the programme is aimed at established businesses rather than start-ups.

Do I have enough turnover and staff?

The programme targets businesses turning over £500,000 to £50 million that are already on a fast growth trajectory – showing growth of 20% or above in turnover, net profit or employment. We are also looking for strong leadership teams with substantiated and workable business plans.

What does it mean to be a Growth Champion?

Over the next few years, Santander will invest around £200 million in fast-growth SMEs. Those businesses we identify as having the potential to continue to build on their success and become market leaders will become Breakthrough’s ‘Growth Champions’.

What will it offer my business? 

Businesses selected as Growth Champions will work hand-in-hand with Santander representatives as they break into new markets, acquire other business and expand their operations. We will connect them with successful businesses and entrepreneurs who have gone through the process themselves and, in turn, encourage them to share their experiences and milestones with other entrepreneurs – feeding their success stories back into the community of innovative and high potential businesses that the Breakthrough programme aims to foster.

What kind of finance can I expect? 

Growth Champions will be able to access traditional debt facilities and mezzanine finance. The mezzanine finance facilities offered through Breakthrough Growth Capital do not have an equity component, so owner-managers will not be required to dilute their shareholding. The finance will be advanced as a debt, repayable at an agreed point in the future. Interest payments will be set at 5% over LIBOR, paid quarterly, and a further 5% rolling up.

What are Masterclasses? 

The Masterclass initiative enables our Breakthrough companies to benefit from the experience of successful and innovative businesses via on-site visits. It’s an opportunity to learn firsthand about business success.

Can you help me break into overseas markets? 

Working in collaboration with a number of organisations, including UKTI, we will take selected companies on international trade missions. These trade missions are a chance to both map out the market and make useful contacts.

What is the Internship initiative? 

The Internship initiative matches high-potential graduates with companies that could benefit from their skills. SMEs will gain access to sought-after skills, while the graduates benefit from experience in fast-moving, innovative businesses.

Do you host live events? 

Yes, our SME regional conferences are designed to provide fast-growth companies – not just those on the Breakthrough programme – with insightful and valuable lessons from market leading companies that can be applied right away. These are a long way from ordinary conferences, with inspirational speakers and the opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs dealing with similar issues.