Future 50: 'It’s vital to have a finger on the pulse'

A man analysing data on a laptop

Now more than ever, it’s vital for entrepreneurs to have a finger on the pulse and be ready to react to what their clients need. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s been a challenging few years for businesses in the East of England, as they’ve had to adapt to trading around the coronavirus restrictions. But as companies moved past the crisis-management strategies of the early days of the pandemic, we have observed some positives and even new opportunities, including finding new markets, new customers and new distribution channels. 

As we move forward through 2022, businesses are going to have to continue adapting to the post-Covid world, which means they’ll have to remain flexible with their offerings and with their clients. Now more than ever, it’s vital for entrepreneurs to have a finger on the pulse and be ready to react to what their clients need. 

This is where having access to high-quality advice and a top-class support network can really help. Future 50 is designed to help companies meet other like-minded local businesses at the same stage in their journey and to offer dedicated business support over 12 months to help them grow. The programme, of which Barclays Eagle Labs is one of the partners, is split up in to bite-sized elements to allow entrepreneurs to get the most from it. 

Barclays Eagle Labs is a UK-wide network of business incubators supporting business ecosystems across the country, providing the tools, knowledge and connections to businesses and investors, for innovative start-ups to accelerate their growth. Our Eagle Labs aim to cultivate a community of likeminded entrepreneurs who can benefit from access to a collaborative environment and peer networks. 

Glen Webster, business banking regional manager at Barclays

Glen Webster, business banking regional manager at Barclays - Credit: Archant

Last year’s Future 50 events worked surprisingly well being almost entirely virtual and we’ve all learnt a lot from that process, both the organisers and the partners, which will help make this year’s programme even stronger. Having a fresh, strongly co-ordinated approach will really help the participating businesses get more from it. 

That’s important because, though there are still virtual events going on elsewhere, people are increasingly become slightly “virtualled out”, so are more selective about what they attend. The strength of Future 50 is it’s so specific to the cohort – it means the partners can deliver real value to the members. 

The one element that was perhaps missing from last year’s Future 50 was the face-to-face element of networking, highlighted when we did have one in-person event to bring the 2021 programme to a close. Events like that often see people making unexpected connections, having fruitful conversations with people they might not otherwise have expected to contact. So for this year there is an emphasis on finding fresh ways to help promote the networking aspect. 

Future 50 is always full of firms it’s worth connecting with. There were some very impressive businesses in last year’s cohort – including HER Business Revolution, start-up GoWash, environmental glasses company Coral Eyewear and ethical coffee pioneers Paddy & Scott’s, who actually provide coffee at Barclays’ main Canary Wharf offices. This year’s cohort looks to have a range of equally interesting, exciting businesses, such as Equipmake, Colorifix and Bread Source. The partners are looking forward to getting to know all the 2022 Future 50 companies.

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank, operating in more than 40 countries. With more than 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays offers products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management. Barclays Eagle Labs is a specialist network within the bank that works with ambitious founders and start-ups across the UK, helping them succeed and scale. 

Barclays is represented on the Future 50 board by Glen Webster and Anthony Pryke.

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