LONDON — Klarna is stepping up to support small businesses in the U.K., earmarking 3 million pounds to help 100 firms in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The buy now, pay later platform is stepping in just as the British government’s pandemic furlough program has begun to taper. The program is set to end on Sept. 30.
Klarna pointed to data showing that 46 percent of owners of small and medium-sized enterprises are prioritizing “survival” in the next six months, with 38 percent reportedly worried that their businesses won’t survive the pandemic.
The money comes in the form of a businesses support package that includes free use of Klarna products for one year; WeWork All Access passes for three months, and 15,000 pounds worth of Klarna media services to boost customer acquisition.
The package equates to more than 30,000 pounds of support for each business, according to Klarna.
The recipients of the package will be decided by a panel of judges including a member of Parliament and principals at Klarna and WeWork.
Alex Marsh, head of U.K. at Klarna, said SMEs “are at the core of our economy, and it’s vital that they’re given all the tools they need to survive. At Klarna, we are determined to help small retailers navigate their way back to pre-pandemic levels, and we hope that this fund, together with our Accelerator Program, will inspire and boost confidence across the SME sector.”
Klarna has also launched a 10-part Accelerator Program, and plans to host a series of free training masterclasses with industry experts from various partners including Shopify, WeWork, Global-e, Dotdigital to provide SMEs with “actionable insights to boost their business.”
This is not the first time Klarna has tried to support emerging talent and small businesses.
Earlier this year, the company teamed with Lady Gaga on “The Studio by Klarna x Haus Labs.” The creative space, a hub for the musician’s cosmetics brand Haus Laboratories, is based in Los Angeles County. In addition to serving as a platform for Haus Labs, it is a resource for emerging creatives.
The first group of creatives chosen by Klarna and Haus Laboratories received a $10,000 grant from Klarna, and mentorship from the Haus Labs team.