Hundreds of small businesses in Birmingham are set to receive free digital support worth £1,000 as part of a new Government-funded pilot scheme called HeadsUp!
The initiative, delivered by small business support group Enterprise Nation in collaboration with partners including Innovation Birmingham, will see small city firms line up to get access to help with improving efficiency, productivity and overall profit via digital tools.
The funding for the scheme has come from the Government’s £8m Business Basics Programme, unveiled in the Industrial Strategy, run by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK.
Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: “It was the work of Sir Charlie Mayfield and the government-commissioned productivity review that concluded productivity gains could be made if small business owners succeeded in slightly improving their skills as managers and leaders.
“In short, the findings demonstrated that if every small business could operate just a little bit better, this would deliver significant productivity gains and benefit to the economy as a whole.
“As a small business owner myself, I agree with this, but struggled with the idea of taking extended periods of time out of the business to attend high-end educational courses developed by management consultants.
“Instead, we simply want small business owners to raise their heads and take a moment to work ‘on’ the business, not ‘in’ it. That’s what HeadsUp! is all about and explains the background to the name. We want you to pause for a while, lift your head, and consider how the performance of your business could be improved, with the help of experts.”
Katharine Fuller, Head of Business Support at Innovation Birmingham said: “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Enterprise Nation on the new HeadsUp! programme, which trains businesses in the advantages of utilising digital technologies to improve their business processes.
“As a digital-tech campus, we fully believe in the value created by digital innovations. The chance to help founders embed that value in their own companies to improve performance aligns perfectly with the diverse business support we offer on campus to help companies succeed and grow. It will be great to get the feedback from those who are at the start of their digital journey, to see what great strides they are able to make as a result of this skills investment.”
Birmingham is one of four areas to benefit from the pilot programme, which will test the effectiveness of such advice programmes, and Government intervention. The other areas are London, Oxfordshire and Lancashire. The scheme is set to impact on 600 micro and small companies to help them adopt digital technology to improve cash flow and sales. Part of the aim is also to boost the morale of the employees of smaller companies.
Firms will be recruited and then randomly selected to either access online support, or attend an in-person productivity roadshow. A digital diagnostic tool will assess the current state of the business so results can be evaluated over the period of the trial by analysts at Brunel University, Enterprise Nation’s data analysis partner.
Enterprise Nation has recruited corporate partners to support the trial, including Microsoft, Xero, CharlieHR, Soldo, Basekit, HubSpot and Equipsme, which will contribute to a discounted product bundle.
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