Richard Heggie - Barclays, High Growth and Entrepreneurs

Barclays announces ‘Angel Hubs’ through partnership with UK Business Angels Association, supporting entrepreneurs

Barclays has announced an industry leading partnership with the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA), to support its Birmingham Eagle Labs Incubator. The partnership will see the bank and UKBAA- the trade body for angel and early stage investing- pioneer new Angel Hubs, by including local angel investors in Barclays’ new network of entrepreneurial spaces. The intention is that through the collaboration, entrepreneurs will have access to a range of experts for mentorship and guidance around topics such as funding, as well as access to physical space in which to develop their business ideas and to grow.

GameChangers talks exclusively to Richard Heggie, Head of High Growth and Entrepreneurs at Barclays...

Q. Assigning a dedicated team of 50 across the UK to support the start-up of HG&E in November, what developments have you seen since launching?

There’s been positive reaction from our clients who are already in this space. We have also received wider recognition from the entrepreneurial community about this great resource to help support its growth and scale-up. So much so that we recently built on our work within the HG&E proposition by launching an innovative industry-leading partnership with the UK Angels network.

Q. What are the key financial needs of entrepreneurs?

Obviously funding but like Jessie J said, it’s not about the money. Look at what else is on the table beyond the cash on offer and what value this will add to your business in terms of priceless assets like connections, expertise and insight/mentoring. Funding is important but making sure it is smart funding ensures that it will work for your company.

Q. What are the most common risks involved with start-up and expansion in businesses?

Entrepreneurs face many challenges to creating a start-up. Key ones include funding and the financial risks associated with not having a strong line of funding in place. For some entrepreneurs considering how much of your own assets and money you can use to get the company off the ground, is the usual option taken, which obviously can carry a significant risk for you and loved ones. With a lack of knowledge or information it can be easy to make mistakes, particularly if this is your first time setting up on your own. So making poor decisions that could impact your company is another risk. In terms of scaling-up, Barclays landmark report into the limited growth of UK SMEs, Scale-up UK: Growing Business, Growing our Economy, identified that a company reliant upon the direction of one person can lead to missed opportunities and missed growth. This “bottle-neck of one mind” can mean a company risks not expanding in a way that is best for them.

Q. What were the main causes behind ‘growing UK firms’ missing out in comparison to U.S. counterparts?

I would say the main reason in the past could be the difference in the level of maturity of the business landscape in the UK vs US. Whether that is in terms of the business ecosystem and mind set or role models who have been there and done it so can help to mentor the next generation. Linked to this is the funding options to support those businesses that want to grow and the awareness of the value of entrepreneurs in terms of economic growth and societal impact. However, I certainly have seen a shift in attitudes towards SMEs and entrepreneurs over the past few years and there is now a real determined drive to help them in any way possible.

Q. How do Barclays manage the constant evolving technology and marketing differentiation in expansion and growth?

Barclays has a history of being at the forefront of innovation in our industry and it’s part of our culture, we obsess about technology in the context of how it can help us differentiate our expertise to our customers and clients. One recent example of this is the launch of SmartBusiness, which gives SMEs the insight of Big Data by bringing their transactional information to life – a UK banking first.

Q. How will we see HG&E develop over the coming months?

We are working on a host of improvements to our digital proposition, the addition of more focused coverage teams, and new products and services. I can’t go into any further detail I am afraid until we officially announce it but keep your eyes peeled!

Q. There has been a vast stretch of changes in both banking and finance overall over the past decade, what are the most crucial aspects that impacted the launch of HG&E?

For me it is about recognizing that in an ever changing world, people still want access to value added expertise, customer service and valuable connections. So while there has been many changes whether regulatory, technology, or alternative finance within the world of banking, the key fundamentals of what people need and want remain the same and are more important than ever. These are at the core of our HG&E proposition.

Q. Busting myths on “high-growth companies” – for example, that they rely on venture capital – can you share with us the most common myths within high-growth?

  • That you can’t grow a company through customers alone
  • That they are only tech companies
  • That you need to be based in Silicon Valley
  • That companies need to expand nationally or internally to achieve high-growth success

Q. What defines a Gamechanger?

I think it is anyone who sees an opportunity where others do not and therefore redefines the playing field accordingly. They may disrupt or they may innovate. They find that a-ha – something simple and needed that everyone wants but nobody realised until that service or product is made.

Q. For Barclays, what are the 5 key attributes to fit the “Gamechanger” title?

I think that that can change from situation to situation so would not want to limit it by answering this question.

Q. What is Barclay’s best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and businesses in the banking and finance industry?

Collaborate, network, seek out advice, pick your partners carefully, keep your passion and don’t forget to have fun. Oh, and come and see how Barclays can help.....

Visit: Barclays