Be the Business and BAE Systems: Getting SMEs on a path to growth

Throughout the pandemic, Be the Business has supported SMEs through a variety of means: free online resources, our Be the Business Mentoring and Boards programmes and real-life stories from the frontline of business. This would not have been possible without the valued contributions from BAE Systems.

The last 18 months have been hugely challenging for UK SMEs, with many leaders forced to rethink their business models.

The scale of the crisis facing SMEs in March 2020 cannot be understated. Separated from their teams and fellow business owners by lockdown restrictions, and unsure of where to turn for support during the pandemic, small business leaders often felt isolated. In response to the situation, Be the Business and BAE Systems came together to help these businesses navigate the crisis and move back onto the path to growth.

Over the course of 2020/21, BAE Systems has made the single largest contribution of any UK company to the Be the Business mission. The contributions made by BAE Systems allowed Be the Business to pivot in the middle of the pandemic to provide new supports to SMEs in distress, in addition to our core productivity-improving programmes.

BAE Systems’ direct support allowed Be the Business to scale the support we could offer rapidly and engage thousands of small business leaders at a crucial time.

The company's employees have also played their part by volunteering to become mentors on the Be the Business Mentoring programme. Thanks to their contribution, Be the Business has been able to engage almost 200 business leaders in mentoring relationships, resulting in an estimated productivity boost of £12.2m.

Today, with lockdown restrictions eased and businesses settling into "the new normal", small business leaders still require support and guidance. In order to help small business leaders continue along the path to growth, and to tackle the UK’s productivity question as a whole, Be the Business and BAE Systems will continue to work together to support our small business community.

Access the full report below to read more about the UK-wide benefits of the partnership.

Download: Getting small businesses on the path to growth