LONDON, UK — Klarna, the leading global retail bank, payments, and shopping service, has announced the winning 100 SMEs of its inaugural £3m Small Business Support Package. The package is part of Klarna’s commitment to supporting the SME sector to drive growth and recovery across Britain’s small businesses.
Each winning SME will receive specialist support across numerous elements of their business operations. The package includes complimentary use of Klarna’s Pay later products for one year, WeWork All Access passes for three months, and £15,000 worth of Klarna media services including in-app advertising, social media, and promotional support on the Klarna app.
With 1,135 applicants, Klarna and the judging panel, which comprised of Matt Vickers, MP for Stockton South and Co-Chair of the APPG on Future of Retail, Mathieu Proust, General Manager, UK, Ireland & Emerging Markets at WeWork, Emma Jones, Founder and CEO of Enterprise Nation and Alex Marsh, Head of Klarna UK, undertook a round-table judging process to pick the top retail SMEs across each category.
The winning SMEs are spread across four different categories: Sustainability Champion, Retail Innovator, Pandemic Impact and Omnichannel Trailblazer. The businesses are based across the United Kingdom and operate in a variety of sectors including fashion, beauty, automotive and sports, and homeware. Recipients range from micro-businesses with a £5k turnover to those growing rapidly and turning over £2.5m every year.
Winners include sustainable activewear brand SOS which is made using recycled ocean plastics; Booheads, biodegradable bamboo electric toothbrush heads; Pantee, underwear made from recycling the overproduction of t-shirts in the fashion industry and UpCircle Beauty, skincare made from by-product ingredients salvaged from other industries, such as the food and drink industry. A complete list of winners can be found here.
Alex Marsh, Head of UK at Klarna said: “The retail industry has been hit hard by the pandemic and British SMEs have faced the brunt of it. At Klarna, we’ve long worked with businesses of all sizes and have always been focussed on supporting SMEs in particular. It was an honour working together with our partners to judge the inaugural SME Support Package. It was certainly a hard decision but the businesses we have chosen are truly making a difference across the industry, from sustainability to innovation, and we’re excited to be part of their future growth.”
Mathieu Proust, General Manager, WeWork UK, Ireland & Emerging Markets said: “It was a privilege to join the judging panel for Klarna’s Small Business Support Package and to hear from so many impressive applicants. The last 18 months has presented huge challenges to businesses, particularly the retail SME community, and so it is great to be involved in this support package. We look forward to seeing what these exciting and innovative companies go on to achieve.”
Emma Jones CBE, Founder of Enterprise Nation said: “Small business owners have had their heads down over the past year working on sales, adapting, fund-raising and more. Programmes and competitions such as these offer an opportunity to mark that hard work and allow founders a moment to pause and celebrate their achievements. It was a pleasure to be part of it and good luck to all entrants for success in the coming year.”
Alongside the package, Klarna also recently launched its Accelerator Program, a ten-part series of masterclasses online with industry experts to provide actionable insight and advice to help boost businesses, these are available for all, not just the winning SMEs. These are all recorded and available on the Small Business Accelerator Program homepage and have already benefited over 17k small business employees.