University hosts head of Santander UK

Ana Botin, the head of Santander UK, visited the University yesterday (Wednesday 15 March) to speak to students and members of the local business community about the importance of enterprise for the recovery of the UK economy.

In Ms Botin’s presentation to students she spoke of the global economic crisis and the challenge of rising unemployment. She told students that innovation and knowledge are more important than ever and that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are crucial to growth.

Ms Botin spoke of her own experiences in setting up a technology-based company and the insight it gave her to help develop the bank’s approach to supporting small businesses.

Ana Botin met the Vice-Chancellor during her first visit to the University campus

Irene Benito, a second year economics and politics student, from Madrid, who attended the event, said: “I’m really impressed to have Ana Botin here at Bath. It’s been an eye-opening talk, especially hearing about emerging markets and Brazil’s economic strength. It’s been really useful.”

Later in the day Ms Botin hosted an event for 115 high growth potential SMEs, including companies from the University's Innovation Centre such as Zynstra, Smart Sensors and Search Star.

The delegates were welcomed to the Breakthrough event by the University's Innovation Centre Director, Simon Bond. He said: "Business is high on the University's agenda and in addition to the companies we create from our own research and intellectual property, the University has a great track record of helping other companies with the innovation of their products, processes and with their people and leadership skills."

Bath was among the first UK universities to sign an agreement with Santander in 2007 and this supports scholarships, travel grants, awards and entrepreneurial activities. Santander has committed £7 million in 2012 to fund UK universities.

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “We’re pleased to welcome Ms Botin to Bath, following the successful visit of her father, Chairman Emilio Botin in 2010. We’re thankful for the ongoing support shown by Santander to the University.

“We attract extremely entrepreneurial students to Bath as a result of our placement scheme and they are sure to benefit from a lecture focused on this subject.”

Ana Botin was appointed as CEO of Santander UK in December 2010. She was previously executive chairman of the Spanish bank, Banco Español de Crédito. She is the Founder and Vice-Chairman of the Empresa y Crecimiento Foundation, which finances small and medium size companies in Latin America.

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