British Business Bank announces accessibility partnership for the deaf and hard of hearing

The British Business Bank has announced a partnership with SignLive, a deaf-owned organisation, to improve its accessibility to deaf employees and clients by providing British Sign Language interpretation services.

The partnership’s first project is to make Start Up Loans customer services accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing. Customers of the bank can now download the SignLive app on a mobile phone, tablet, or use a web browser. The British Business Bank intends to expand this service gradually across the business throughout 2022.

This follows the recent announcement of the bank’s partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). The RNIB is producing braille, audio and large print versions of existing Start Up Loans documents to support better accessibility across all of its customer facing channels.

The British Business Bank is also the first organisation to have passed part one of the RNIB’s Visibly Better Employer Framework, which helps employers to become more inclusive.

Richard Bearman, managing director of Start-Up Loans, said: “Across the financial services industry, we’ve made a lot of progress in our desire to become increasingly accessible over the past few years. However, there’s always more that we can do to cater our services to people from specific backgrounds, which is why our partnership with SignLive is so important to us.

“This partnership represents our continued commitment to keep moving forwards, keep learning and making the Start Up Loans scheme as accessible as possible to people in the UK who are interested in starting their own business.”

Joel Kellhofer, CEO of SignLive, added: “As a deaf entrepreneur, I know how much of a difference this partnership can make for someone starting out on their business journey. I’m glad we can support Start-Up Loans in becoming more accessible and hope that it provides new opportunities for British Sign Language users in the future.”

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