We support over one million UK businesses with leading digital and relationship banking services – helping them to start up, grow and thrive.

Elyn Corfield
CEO, Business & Commercial Banking
11 June 2024
5 min read

What makes an entrepreneur? Passion? Creativity? An appetite for risk? These are all important characteristics of any successful would-be business owner but ultimately, it’s tenacity and a resolute belief in an idea that’s needed to start up and grow a successful business. 

Last year, data from Shopify ranked the UK fourth in the world, and second among G7 countries, for the impact entrepreneurs have had on the economy.1 According to Shopify’s index, UK entrepreneurs generated £28 billion in business activity in 2022 and £14 billion in GDP.2

The question is, then, how are we best positioned to help maintain this momentum, and ensure that entrepreneurs have what they need to thrive?

Why are entrepreneurs so vital to the UK economy?

The UK private sector consists of 3.1 million sole proprietorships.3 These are owned and run by one person who in turn gets all of the businesses profits but is also liable for debts and losses as well. 

What’s more, there are 5.6 million SMEs in the UK and, in 2023, they turned over an estimated £2.4 trillion.4 These small businesses and sole proprietorships are the lifeblood of our economy. They create jobs, economic growth and in recent years have been key drivers in the adoption of sustainable business practices, as well as drivers of positive social change.

More broadly though, successful entrepreneurs are generally those who prioritise innovation. In other words, they come to the table with an original idea that gives them a competitive edge in their chosen market. We support over one million UK businesses with leading digital and relationship banking services – helping them to start up, grow and thrive which is why we offer a plethora of resources for UK entrepreneurs, including a How to grow your business resource hub. 

"The UK private sector consists of 3.1 million sole proprietorships."

Support for Black entrepreneurs 

We’re proud to have helped many would-be business owners get their ideas off the ground. In 2023 alone we helped around 105,000 small businesses and charities with new banking.5  

Take Neo Chatyoka, for example. Having always dreamed of setting up her own business after visits to her grandmother in the South African village of Limpopo, after a year and half of making skincare formulations of skincare creams and balms, Neo set up her own skincare business, Uhuru Botanicals.

Lloyds Bank introduced Neo to Foundervine – an inclusive entrepreneur organisation which helps business owners build connections. In partnership with Lloyds Bank, the ‘Immerse’ programme from Foundervine empowers diverse founders to build, scale and grow their businesses.6 At the time of writing, there are over 2000 founders signed up to the programme and receiving hands-on mentorship.

Throughout 2023, the Group supported over 5,000 Black entrepreneurs and business owners which, in turn, led to 23,000 hours of total support across the programmes, events and initiatives we were involved in.7  

In addition, Lloyds Bank also helped Neo with the financial capital she needed to fund new machinery and move in to a new factory. Today, Neo is a successful businesswoman selling natural and sustainable hair butter and face cream online and on Amazon and, in her spare time, guest lecturing on product development and formulation at Salford University, Reading University, University of Arts London and Liverpool John Moore University.  

"In partnership with Lloyds Bank, the ‘Immerse’ programme from Foundervine empowers diverse founders to build, scale and grow their businesses."

Support for disabled entrepreneurs

Business owners from all backgrounds must have equal opportunities to thrive. Disabled entrepreneurs are a critical yet often overlooked segment of society, with varied needs, and it’s long overdue that we challenge preconceptions and embrace the wealth of talent, innovation, and resilience within this community. 

In April 2023, we partnered with Small Business Britain (SBB) to publish our Disability and Entrepreneurship Report and later hosted a roundtable at the House of Lords where leaders from across business and politics debated action on disability and entrepreneurship.

This session led to the creation of the Lilac Review – an independent, government-backed review looking to address and overcome the barriers facing the nation’s disabled entrepreneurs who represent 25% of the UK’s 5.5m small business owners, but account for just 8.6% of business turnover. The Interim report published in May sheds light on the overwhelming barriers faced when starting and growing their businesses. 

There is a significant opportunity to improve the UK’s business output and economic potential if we start removing these barriers, but we must work collectively across the entrepreneurial ecosystem to make the most impact, creating an environment where every aspiring entrepreneur has accessible routes that enable them to thrive. 

Supporting businesses

Our role has always been to be by the side of our business customers – to support their ambitions and to help them seize opportunities for growth wherever possible.

Find out how we're supporting UK business.

Looking ahead

The pull of starting a business remains strong – which of course is good news for the future of our economy. Just recently a Lloyds Bank poll found that eight in ten side-hustlers had ambitions to start their own business. And having no one to answer to was the main driver for them to follow the path of entrepreneurship.

Interestingly, Gen Zs were the most attracted to being their own bosses, with 60% saying they wanted to ditch their day job and turn their side hustles into successful businesses.8  Given this, it’s vital that as one of the country’s leading financial service providers, we support these fledging business owners and continue to support entrepreneurs from across the country. 

Elyn Corfield
About the author Elyn Corfield

CEO, Business & Commercial Banking

Elyn Corfield was appointed in July 2022 as CEO, Business & Commercial Banking, serving all micro, small and medium sized business customers as they grow and evolve, providing specialist sector propositions and supporting customer needs across all banking products. 

Prior to joining the Group in 2017 through the acquisition of MBNA, where Elyn was Chief Financial Officer, she held a number of finance leadership roles. Before her current role, Elyn was the Managing Director, Consumer Finance, responsible for the Group’s Consumer Credit Card, Commercial Credit Card, Unsecured Personal Loan, Motor Finance and Motor Leasing portfolios in the UK.

Elyn is a Fellow member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, lives in the North West, acted as Lloyds Banking Group’s Ambassador for the North for three years to December 2021, and is a Trustee of the MBNA Foundation, a charitable trust. 

Follow Elyn on LinkedIn.

Elyn's background Read Less

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