Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Rules change brings more micro-businesses into into grant eligibility fold

A government scheme that slashes the price of software, boosting productivity and growth of the UK’s small businesses, will benefit at least a million more  firms from today.

With Customer Relationship Management software proven to boost firms’ productivity by 18% on average, the Help to Grow: Digital scheme offers businesses discounts worth up to £5,000 on approved software.

Previously, only businesses with more than five employees were eligible for the scheme, but from today, businesses with at least one employee are now eligible to benefit. This boosts the number of eligible businesses by 760,000 so that it now reaches up to 1.24 million.

Today it’s also announced that eCommerce software is available through the scheme to help businesses ramp up sales of products and services online. This includes helping them to manage their inventory, take payments and gather data and insights on customers’ needs. Businesses which adopt eCommerce software see on average a 7.5% increase in employee sales over 3 years.

This means businesses can now get a £5,000 discount on 30 software solutions from 14 leading technology suppliers for eCommerce, Digital Accounting and CRM software.

Additionally, the government has announced that Help to Grow: Digital will support one-to-one advice for SMEs on how best they can adopt digital technology. The government will be launching applications for advice platforms to partner with the scheme from today, and the advice service will go live later this year.

Business Minister Lord Callanan said: “Boosting productivity isn’t some abstract concept to be sniffed at – for individual SMEs it means bigger sales and breaking into new markets. It can add £100 billion to the British economy overall, creating jobs and opportunity across the country.

“Adopting the latest technology is proven to help businesses make the most of their potential, and by making more than one million firms eligible for the scheme, we’re helping to level up the UK economy and bolster the ability of our businesses to compete with the best worldwide.”

Martin McTague, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “We are very pleased to have worked hard with BEIS to adopt our ask to expand the eligibility criteria of the Help to Grow: Digital scheme to support more small businesses getting the software they need.

“Our research shows the smallest firms are least likely to have adopted tech products because of the lack of resources although they would make the most productivity gains through adoption.

“It’s good that Ministers are listening. Together with the addition of e-Commerce software and one-to-one advice for SMEs on technology adoption, this will help small businesses enhance their operations and drive efficiency and growth.”

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