Collision is the theme of this year’s Bath Digital Festival, which we are proud to be sponsoring again, and this got us thinking about how we work with different people and industries to help innovative businesses succeed – especially as we come through a global pandemic, in which collaboration has been more important than ever.

The past 18 months have been characterised by time spent apart, reinforcing what many of us already knew: human contact is vital – not just to thrive, but to survive. BOOST&Co has multiple offices across the UK and overseas, and works with many other SMEs, so we have welcomed the return of face-to-face interaction with our colleagues and clients, but what is it about this form of collaboration that is so valuable?

Local knowledge – and a fresh perspective

Our team engages with founders, chief executives and entrepreneurs from UK-based businesses to help them achieve their growth goals. We understand that no two firms are the same and that taking the time to collaborate and thoroughly understand a management team’s vision for growth is an essential part of the lending process. 

BOOST&Co’s Bristol-based principal Chris Mears recognises the value in collaboration between companies and lenders. “Entrepreneurs occasionally become so focused on their business that a new perspective can help to achieve an unexpected breakthrough,” he says. “By asking questions to improve our understanding of the business, we work with management teams to offer funding that is individually tailored to each firm.”

The individuals having the conversation matter just as much as the approach taken. The diversity of the UK’s cities means that they each operate within their own unique ecosystem, and the financial and business services sectors have had to adapt to reflect this: for example, firms based in the south-west are encountering challenges that are different from those in the capital, so they want to work with partners who understand these nuances. 

“When we bring in external experts, we use local support wherever appropriate,” Mears says. “It is important to us that we have representatives who understand the financial landscape of their local area. I’m working on a number of transactions in the south west, where corporate finance experts such as Shaw & Co are invaluable – they, like us, have teams on the ground across the the UK because they appreciate the importance of local knowledge.”

Collaboration sparks original thinking

Collaboration is also key to the internal workings of a company, and Mears, who joined BOOST&Co earlier in 2021, can attest to the strength of co-operation within the business. “The team is the most diverse, imaginative and supportive that I have worked in. The positive, collaborative culture creates energy and promotes original thinking,” he says.

It is no coincidence that two of BOOST&Co’s “tenets” – the qualities that define our organisational culture – are “interested” and “interesting”. Our people are innately curious, and this translates into thought-provoking and fruitful interactions with our portfolio companies, as well as the organisations that we support, including Bath Digital Festival.

Our collaborative culture enables our team to work easily with different types of businesses in a range of sectors. It also underpins our flexible approach to funding – we tailor our products to fit each firm and its targets for growth. 

Shared knowledge, shared vision

BOOST&Co became part of the Growth Lending Group, alongside our sister company Growth Lending, in early 2020. The firms have since worked closely together within the alternative lending space, making the most of their complementary propositions and the shared knowledge of their expert teams.

Both organisations have long experience of working with business groups and regularly provide acquisition finance to help companies become stronger and more successful. Operating as part of a group helps us to understand the benefits of shared knowledge, services and investment, so that we can better support firms that have a similar vision.

The south-west business community is strong, innovative and supportive, but even more can be achieved through further collaboration. Whether there’s a business that offers a complementary service to your own, an advisor who could propel your firm in a new direction or even a smaller, newer venture that you believe would benefit from mentorship, this year’s theme of collision – and the ensuing collaboration – provides plenty of food for thought.

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