RISING inflation, growing export costs and ever-increasing energy prices are placing small and medium sized enterprises under unprecedented pressures.

And for many, this winter could be the crunch point as further increases in gas and electricity prices coupled with rising interest rates are expected.

That is why today, the South Wales Argus, in partnership with NatWest, is launching a new campaign aimed at supporting local SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) through the cost-of-living crisis.

Over the next few weeks we will be delivering a series of events and editorials bringing together leading experts from NatWest to provide insights and help that could save your business money.

We’ll also be hearing from key stakeholders and businesses as they steer through the months ahead.

Newsquest Wales sales director Lynsey Hughes said: “SMEs are incredibly important to the UK and are often seen as the backbone of any healthy economy.

“Whether a cottage Industry in a semi-rural area or a tech start up in a city centre, SMEs provide the economy with a healthy supply of new skills and concepts.

“We have also seen them be incredibly adept at change, never more evident than during the pandemic.

“However, these hardworking and resilient businesses are once again facing unprecedented challenges, which is why we have joined forces with NatWest to launch a campaign, which will provide support and help to those that need it most.”

Meanwhile, Paul Edwards, chair of the NatWest South West Board, added: “This is an important campaign that we have joined forces with the Newsquest Wales to launch.

“We know how challenging businesses are finding the current inflationary pressures, with many still feeling the effects of having navigated Covid and successive lockdowns as well.

“By joining together with Newsquest Wales, our campaign will provide advice and support to businesses helping them to deliver short and long-term measures that could help reduce their costs.

“Our purpose as a bank is to champion potential, helping people, families and businesses to thrive, and that purpose has never more important than now.”