Brighton and Barclays mean business for high growth companies

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High growth business entrepreneurship and its challenges is being focused on in the Brighton Summit keynote session featuring Marc Koska, the inventor of the K1 auto-disabling syringe and founder of the SafePoint Trust, a charity which campaigns for safer syringe use.

The session is being sponsored by Barclays, and Paul Williams, Relationship Director, Corporate Banking, was recently interviewed by the Chamber’s Lead Ambassador and Managing Director of PR and marketing consultancy, Chimera Communications.

Jill: We’re delighted Barclays is on board for this year’s Brighton Summit, Paul. I’m sure members and delegates would like to know more about your unit’s role within the bank, and the synergy between what you do and the session you’re sponsoring. As head of the high growth entrepreneur team, what are you looking for in an ideal high growth business?

Paul: In black and white, a high growth company should be consistently growing at 20% each year in terms of revenue and number of employees over the last three years, or has received external investment through post seed funding. That said, not all high growth businesses fit into the black and white definition so we also look at the companies’ USPs, growth potential, management team and strategic plans to move the business forward.

Jill: What does your new service offer, why did Barclays feel it was necessary now, and how will high growth businesses in the city benefit?

Paul: Barclays is continuing to build out its proposition, which supports high growth companies and entrepreneurs right across the UK. Through its ‘High Growth & Entrepreneurs’ offering, the bank is at the forefront in helping founders and entrepreneurs build and scale their businesses at speed.

Building and maintaining forward momentum in a high growth business requires continuous investment, so we’ve developed a suite of funding options to meet the changing needs of a high growth business. Barclays can support entrepreneurs from idea to IPO utilising our £200m fund for venture debt lending.

The specialist Brighton team has individuals from many parts of the business including a dedicated high growth and entrepreneur manager so we’re able to guide and support a company from start-up all the way through to flotation or sale.

Jill: What particular challenges do high growth entrepreneurs have that others don’t?

Paul: Good question! In our recent white paper ‘The Scale Up’ report, which Barclays commissioned with the support of Cambridge and Oxford University, a number of challenges were identified. The report is available free of charge to download from the Barclays High Growth & Entrepreneur website and well worth a read –

In a snapshot, funding presents a huge challenge to scale up business, however it’s not all about money, and the skills gap and ability to scale at speed, production and personnel also present unique challenges for scale up businesses.

Jill: How does the Eagle Lab fit in?

Paul: Barclays Eagle Lab provides the facility for UK start-up businesses to co-locate, collaborate and grow.
The Eagle Lab provides access to resources including expert mentoring, 3D printers and laser cutters – giving Brighton’s start-up community a crucial boost. For more information, visit or pop in to the Eagle Lab, which is located at Preston Circus.

Jill: Tell me about your background and journey to get to your current post. Do you have an entrepreneurial background?

Paul: I’ve been a business manager with Barclays in Brighton for 20 years and I’ve supported start-up businesses all the way to corporate companies. It’s great to see some of the entrepreneurs I helped to start up now turning over six figure sums. I’ve always lived and worked in the area and I feel I have developed a strong understanding of the unique Brighton market.

Jill: Thanks so much for talking with me, Paul, and I hope you enjoy this year’s Summit.

Paul: It’s been a pleasure. I’ll be there along with members of my unit so not only will be joining in with the day, we’re there to answer any questions from delegates and offer advice. I’m really looking forward to it, and of course our sponsored session on high growth business.

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