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On Friday, Barclays supported the inaugural Colne Valley SME conference at the University of Huddersfield, helping convene over 70 West Yorkshire entrepreneurs and business leaders, working to address the emerging challenges and opportunities for businesses in the region as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

Among the guests was our own Michael Hartig, Head of High Growth and Entrepreneurs Specialist Teams, who spoke to the conference about Barclays’ commitment to backing enterprise across all parts of the UK, and our investment in the Northern Powerhouse.

Michael, who has worked at Barclays for 29 years and leads a passionate team of enterprise champions across the bank, spoke to us about why supporting business is so crucial, and about Yorkshire’s proud tradition of enterprise and innovation.

Every day, my priority, my first thought, is how to help SMEs get fighting fit for the future

“Every day, my priority, my first thought, is how to help SMEs get fighting fit for the future,” said Michael, who spent time discussing the issue with conference host and local MP Thelma Walker.

“Our High Growth team has identified businesses in the area we can particularly support, via our significant network of relationship managers, access to finance, our Smart Business Dashboard, and networking and mentoring events to support their growth.”

“What makes Yorkshire special to us is that we’ve been here for hundreds of years via our foundation banks, and helped finance huge infrastructure projects such as the Leeds-Liverpool canal in 1774 and the Manchester Ship Canal in 1887.”

The conference was held at the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre, a new business support centre to develop business and academic collaboration, and named after Sir George Buckley, a graduate of the University and former CEO of the multi-national 3M corporation. It’s one of the latest of many new developments springing up in this historic industrial town. 

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