We know that prosperity among the UK’s 1.4 million SME employers will be essential to our economy bouncing back from the impact of Covid-19. Given the right support, they have the potential to deliver as much as £140bn in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy by 2030 – and to create 3.2m jobs over the same period, according to NatWest’s recent ‘A springboard to recovery’ report. And yet the report also highlighted a continued disparity in the allocation of support and funding by gender, location and ethnicity in the UK.
NatWest is committed to removing barriers to enterprise and helping the economy build back better by providing support to those who traditionally face the highest barriers to entry in business. So, in order to help reset this balance, we have partnered with Digital Boost to provide tailored digital training and advice to SMEs and charities looking for extra support to help grow their business and boost revenues.
Digital Boost was created in response to the pandemic, to help drive inclusive economic growth and improve the livelihoods of millions, with a particular focus on the needs and challenges of charities and small and micro-business owners. It helps businesses get the digital skills they need to grow their revenues and be more productive, by matching those who need to upskill with digital experts for free one-to-one mentoring, workshops, and tailored course and resource recommendations.
“We know that tailored support and access to advice at the right time can have a significant impact on removing barriers to launching and scaling a business”Andrew Harrison, head of business banking, NatWest
Businesses with specific questions – such as how to optimise SEO, accept payments online, or improve website conversion – can get practical guidance from seasoned experts, with mentors typically available within 72 hours.
Amarachi Uzowuru, founder of Lucocoa Chocolate, is one such business owner that benefited from connecting with a Digital Boost mentor. Uzowuru makes and sells her own ‘bean-to-bar’ chocolate – but, in March 2020, 90% of her business suddenly disappeared when lockdown restrictions shut down her wholesale clients. She pivoted to selling her chocolate direct to the consumer – but sought Digital Boost’s advice to make the change.
“There is a lot of confusion about what bean-to-bar is,” says Uzowuru, “so when we decided that we wanted to focus more on sales online from our website, we knew we really needed to do a deep dive on our SEO and other marketing strategies so we were communicating as efficiently as possible.
“Knowing we could log into Digital Boost and find experts in these fields was amazing. We had a session to discuss our SEO, and then a follow-up session on how to improve it, which was so helpful for us. You can work at your own pace and keep dipping back in for more guidance, which is great.”
“We know that tailored support and access to advice at the right time can have a significant impact on removing barriers to launching and scaling a business,” says Andrew Harrison, head of business banking at NatWest. “By partnering with Digital Boost, this will give us the opportunity to support future and existing SMEs across the UK, giving them access to expert support when they need it most – and helping them, and the UK economy, thrive.”
Source: Natwest Business Hub