Vodafone and Enterprise Nation have committed to give free training to 100,000 small businesses to support the UK’s economic recovery.
They will help business owners boost their digital skills, adopt and make the best possible use of technology in the first initiative of a new business.connected campaign.
The initiative has been prompted by the way the pandemic has seen a significant rise in the need for businesses to get online.
The training will be delivered at various levels and focus on essentials such as setting up a website, online trading, using collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, connectivity, and protection from cyber-attacks.
Research conducted for Vodafone by market research firm Atomik Research found that 25 per cent of SMEs are not activating tech/app solutions after purchasing, 34 per cent aren’t clear on which digital tools they need and only 35 per cent have basic cybersecurity protections in place.
The training, which will be accessed via the Vodafone V-Hub, will include live online workshops and webinars hosted by experts from both organisations, as well as one-to-one sessions with advisers, and independent training modules.
Andrew Stevens, Head of Small Business at Vodafone UK, said: “Whether we like it or not, the future of small business is to have an online presence, for teams and customers – but so many business owners just don’t have the experience to make that happen, let alone safely and in a way that gives a great customer experience.
“We’re here to help Britain’s small business community, and I look forward to working with business owners and seeing the new opportunities they’re able to create for themselves as they venture online.”
Emma Jones, founder, Enterprise Nation, said: “Some small businesses have reacted quickly to increase their exposure to and investment in digital tools – even a rough estimate would suggest we’ve seen ten years of digital adoption in under 12 months.
“What needs to happen now is to help those firms left behind, and see others supported so they can build a deeper understanding to make the most of their technology and use it more effectively and efficiently.”
Despite the persistent challenges posed to businesses during the pandemic, the UK witnessed a surge in entrepreneurship in 2020 with a record 772,002 new start-ups being formed. The rise in remote working is expected to drive similar figures in 2021.
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