More than a million small businesses are now eligible for discounted software through a flagship government scheme after a change to the rules.
The Help to Grow: Digital Scheme, which cuts the price of leading software to boost productivity and growth in the UK’s smaller firms, is now available to businesses with just one employee.
With Customer Relationship Management software proven to boost firms’ productivity by 18% on average, the initiative offers businesses discounts worth up to £5,000 on approved software.
Previously, only businesses with more than five employees were eligible for the scheme. From July 25, the number of eligible businesses rose by 760,000 making the scheme available to 1.24 million small companies.
eCommerce software is also now 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 three years.
This means businesses can now access 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 the best ways to adopt digital technology. The government has launched applications for advice platforms to partner with the scheme, 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.”
The Help to Grow: Digital sits alongside the Help to Grow: Management scheme as the government’s flagship programme to help small and medium-sized businesses to scale-up and grow. Help to Grow: Management offers business leaders 50 hours of leadership and management training across 12 weeks, with government covering 90% of the costs involved.
The schemes help businesses to boost their productivity and grow, which can lead to more high-skill, high-wage jobs. This is part of the government’s commitment to grow the economy to address the cost of living and level up opportunity across the UK, alongside standing behind businesses by cutting fuel duty and raising the Employment Allowance.