The government is backing UK entrepreneurs with tech support and software to help them grow

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  • Help to grow: digital scheme launches today – part of the government’s flagship support program for small businesses
  • offers businesses discounts of up to £5,000 on approved digital accounting and customer relationship management (CRM) software
  • a dedicated free and impartial support site now open to boost companies’ digital skills

The government’s Help to Grow: Digital scheme, designed to help small businesses adopt digital technologies so they can grow, opened for applications today (January 20).

Under the scheme, eligible businesses can now benefit from discounts of up to £5,000 off the retail price of approved digital bookkeeping and RCMP software from leading technology vendors. This software will help them effectively manage their finances and build relationships with their customers, improving the way businesses are run and helping them grow.

Starting today, businesses can also access practical, expert advice and support in choosing the right digital technologies to drive growth and productivity through a new online platform.

The new Help to Grow: Digital program adds to the Help to Grow: Management program launched in 2021 as part of the government’s broader efforts to support businesses and improve the economy.

Through Help to Grow: Digital, the government is providing business leaders with the guidance and funding they need to embrace digital technology and help their businesses grow.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

I want UK businesses to be prepared and ready to seize every opportunity on the horizon as we build back better after the pandemic.

Technology adoption means better performance, and the Help to Grow: Digital program protects our small businesses for the future and puts the UK at the forefront of the global digital revolution.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:

Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our economy, creating jobs and prosperity across the UK.

When I announced this in the budget, I said that we wanted to help businesses become more innovative, more competitive and more profitable and I am delighted that this program allows them to do that.

Help them grow: Digital will help them grow and thrive by adopting new technologies proven to improve processes and boost productivity, upgrading their technology and digital skills.

Mike Cherry, National President of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

Small businesses are often eager to embrace new technologies, but we know that one in four people lack confidence in their own basic digital skills. For eligible small businesses, providing the means to make improvements through projects like this will make a real difference to those looking to expand their knowledge and skills.

Our own research showed that only 40% of small business owners used applications such as cloud services and online data storage or backup. It’s crucial that practical changes like this program are put in place to help small businesses embrace digital technologies, make improvements to their own business and drive growth.

We encourage as many eligible small businesses as possible to apply and get the most out of this new program.

Business Secretary Lord Callanan said:

Technology has been proven to boost business productivity and help companies large and small work better.

The cost-effective support, advice and software offered by Help to Grow: Digital will help improve the UK economy, support jobs and growth and strengthen our businesses’ ability to compete globally.

Technology and Digital Economy Minister Chris Philp said:

We work hard to ensure small businesses can leverage the potential of technology to empower people with new skills, create jobs and drive economic growth.

The support and guidance provided by this new program will energize small businesses and create a workforce with future-ready technology talent.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman of the CBI, said:

The launch of Help to Grow digital will help thousands of SME companies invest in technology. Supporting businesses on their digital transformation journey is fundamental to unlocking economic growth, boosting productivity and creating a more resilient future for business.

The financial support and practical advice offered through this program, as well as through Helping Grow: Management, of which I am a member of the advisory board, will be a valuable additional resource for business leaders.

Fostering greater adoption of technology continues to be a central aspect of the government’s innovation strategy and will be key to creating a high-skilled, high-wage economy.

Through growth assistance programs, the government helps businesses increase their productivity through proven training and software.

This is also only the beginning of the new regime. The government is looking to deliver other products that will help small and medium-sized businesses grow, including new software to help businesses maximize their online sales.

Help to Grow: Management provides business owners with management and leadership training. Designed to be manageable alongside full-time work, companies receive 50 hours of training over 12 weeks.

The course is 90% government funded and delivered by leading UK business schools, with support from experienced entrepreneurs and industry figures.

Classes have been running at UK business schools since June.

Additional information

The Help to Grow: Digital program is implemented through a new online platform

To benefit from the financial discount via Help to Grow: Digital, companies can belong to any sector of activity, but must meet the following 4 criteria:

  • be a UK-based company registered with Companies House or be a company registered on the Mutuals Register of the Financial Conduct Authorities
  • employ between 5 and 249 people.
  • have been actively traded for more than 12 months and have an incorporation date of at least 365 days prior to application
  • buy the approved software for the first time
  • eligible businesses will receive a financial rebate for the purchase of an approved software product up to a maximum of £5,000 (excluding VAT) in the customer relationship management and digital accounting software product categories
  • additional software product categories will soon be available with the discount, including e-commerce software
  • financial discount covers 12 months of approved software product base costs, excluding VAT

Approved technology vendor software products on the Help to Grow: Digital online platform for Wave 1 are:

Customer relationship management (RCMP) Software:

  • Zestia Ltd
  • Zymplify
  • Livepoint Software Solutions Ltd
  • Esteiro Business Solutions S.A.
  • Deskpro Ltd

Digital accounting software:

Customer relationship management (RCMP) allows businesses to store their customer contact and order data in one centralized and secure location. RCMP has the ability to simplify business processes and enable businesses to be more profitable and efficient.

Companies that use RCMP systems to manage their sales and customers see on average an 18% increase in their productivity.

Digital accounting software makes it easy to manage essential financial tasks for businesses, such as issuing invoices, tracking expenses, and sharing information. Companies that adopt digital accounting software see an average 11.8% increase in employee sales over 3 years.

To find out how your business can get Help to Grow, visit the GOV.UK growth support page.

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