British Business Bank announces partnership with RNIB

Press release 18 January 2022

  • The new partnership will see British Business Bank and RNIB work together on a quality standard for recruitment, employees, and customers
  • Braille, Audio and Large Print documents will be available across Start Up Loans materials
  • British Business Bank one of the first to pass part one of the RNIB’s Visibly Better Employer Framework

The British Business Bank today announces a new partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). The Bank will be working with the RNIB to help create an environment where blind and partially sighted people participate equally, breaking down barriers to the business world for people with sight loss.

Only one in four people with sight loss of working age are in employment. There are currently 11,000 people with sight loss in the UK who are actively seeking work, and one of the initial aims of the new partnership is to empower and enable entrepreneurs with sight loss to take the first steps toward starting their own businesses.

As a first step, the RNIB will produce Braille, Audio and Large Print versions of existing Start Up Loans documents and will support the Bank in providing accessible journeys across all of its customer facing channels. This will involve changes to the Bank’s websites and its Start Up Loans application process, as well as the provision of training to staff.

Additionally, to improve accessibility within its own recruitment process, the British Business Bank has become one of the first organisations to have passed part one of the Visibly Better Employer Framework, to become a ‘Visibly Better Employer’. This quality standard helps employers to become more inclusive and will help the Bank to increase the number of people with sight loss who apply for job opportunities and become employed by the organisation.

The British Business Bank is proud to partner with the RNIB on ensuring that blind and partially sighted people experience equal opportunities, both in the workplace and in accessing the finance and mentoring they need to set up in business. Our goal is to create a fairer environment as the economy recovers from the impact of Covid-19 so the best talent is able to thrive. Catherine Lewis La Torre CEO, British Business Bank
We are delighted to be forming a close collaboration with British Business Bank to help and support blind and partially sighted people. Working with British Business Bank presents a great opportunity to focus on enabling blind and partially sighted people to realise their aspirations. It is critical that businesses empower people living with sight loss to realise their potential, and enable them to play an important part in contributing to the economy. David Clarke Director of Services at RNIB
We want to ensure everyone, whatever their background, has equal opportunity to succeed and achieve on merit. The government’s British Business Bank is breaking down barriers for visually impaired people trying to start their own business, unlocking talent across the country as we build back fairer from the pandemic. Paul Scully Small Business Minister

Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Small Business Lending at the British Business Bank, will be discussing how to ensure the funding landscape is accessible and inclusive in the Show Me the Money zone at virtual event StartUp 2022 at 11am on 21 January.

Notes to editors

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK, and to enable the transition to a net zero economy, by improving access to finance for smaller businesses. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank’s core programmes support over £8.5bn1  of finance to almost 95,000 smaller businesses2 . The British Business Bank is responsible for running the government’s Coronavirus business loan schemes and Future Fund, together responsible for delivering £80.4 bn of finance to 1.67m businesses. The schemes are now closed to new applications.

As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. In light of the coronavirus pandemic and EU Exit, the Finance Hub has expanded and it now targets a wider business audience. It continues to provide information and support for scale-up, high growth and potential high growth businesses, but now provides increased content, information and products for businesses in survival and recovery mindsets. The Finance Hub has been redesigned and repositioned to reflect this, during this period of economic uncertainty.

British Business Bank plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. It is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. They are not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A complete legal structure chart for the group can be found at

  • 1

    Figures as at 31 March 2021

  • 2

    Figures as at 31 March 2021