Help to Grow: Digital Scheme launched for SMEs
Help to Grow: Digital is a new UK-wide scheme to help small and medium size businesses (SMEs) adopt digital technologies to help them increase productivity.
What is Help to Grow?
First announced in the 2021 Spring Budget, Help to Grow is a £520m Government backed scheme for SME business owners. There are currently two programmes (Management and Digital) which provides the training to help Senior Managers boost their business’s performance, resilience, and long-term growth after the coronavirus pandemic. The 12-week programme is designed to be taken alongside full-time work through a combination of online sessions and face-to-face learning.
The Help to Grow: Management programme launched in June and covers topics such as developing a growth plan, improving resilience and building marketing and financial strategies. The training is being delivered from business schools across the country and costs businesses £750, with the remaining 90% subsidised by the Government. You can find out more and register for the Management course on the Small Business Charter website.
Help to Grow: Digital
From December 2021, the Digital scheme will offer SMEs free and impartial advice on how technology can help their business. A new online platform will be set up to help them to:
- Identify their digital technology needs
- Assess technology purchasing options
- Implement new technologies in their operations
The scheme is expected to run for three years, with a phased approach over a number of ‘waves’. Each wave will provide the opportunity to roll out new technologies for SMEs. The three technology types for the first wave are Accounting, Customer Relationship Management and eCommerce.
Digital software voucher
Eligible businesses will also be able claim a voucher covering up to 50% of the costs of an approved digital software, up to a maximum of £5,000. These vouchers are expected to be available for software that helps businesses build customer relationships and increase sales, make the most of selling online and manage their accounts and finances digitally.
UK businesses from any sector that have been operating for more than 12 months, with between 5 to 249 employees are eligible for the voucher. The business must also be purchasing the approved software for the first time.
How do I apply?
You can register your interest for the Digital scheme on the Help to Grow Portal by entering your Companies House number.
Benefits of digital adoption
A recent survey, commissioned by Sage and based on modelling by Capital Economics, found that government incentives for SMEs to adopt technology would support 400,000 jobs and create £21bn in economic output due to increased productivity. In addition over two-thirds of SMEs reported that investing further in technology would benefit their business, while 71% said that technology would increase their profitability.