Do It Digital, an independent not-for-profit campaign, has delivered on its pledge to help one million of the UK’s small business owners with their digital skills.
With the support of organisations from Google to the British Library, the campaign has provided much-needed advice and guidance to small companies looking to improve their digital skills in towns and villages across the country.
In order to deliver on the opportunities greater digital skills can bring, the likes of Google, The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), The British Library and Lloyds pledged to back the year-long campaign upon its launch in 2017. Matthew Hancock MP, the newly-appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has also supported the campaign since its launch.
FSB joined up with Facebook on their #SheMeansBusiness campaign, which aims to help thousands of women start their own business, as well as offering their members free cyber security insurance. The British Library supported over 12,000 small businesses across their network of Business & IP Centres with increased digital skills during the course of the year. Business organisation Enterprise Nation trained over 10,000 small businesses in digital skills over the year and continues to train via its Go And Grow Online campaign.
The banks also stepped up with Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC all making pledges. Lloyds alone trained over 74,000 small businesses in digital skills in 2017.
Google expanded its Digital Garage scheme across the UK in 2017, training on average 2,000 small businesses a week and reaching over 100,000 over the course of the year.
Having exceeded its targets to provide small business owners with a wide range of digital initiatives and skills training programmes, Do It Digital has called on big organisations to keep the momentum going.
Ruth Porat, Alphabet and Google’s Chief Financial Officer, has already announced a new goal to help a further 100,000 people in the UK find a job or grow in their career through digital skills training over the next three years.
Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and thanks to this great campaign more than a million firms have now had expert digital skills training from leading companies. We want everyone to benefit from the digital revolution and, by working in partnership, we are making millions of free training opportunities available to help the UK be one of the world’s most digitally skilled nations.”
Michelle Ovens MBE, Director, Do It Digital, said: “Digital engagement is crucial for all aspects of business, from marketing to recruitment and stock management to banking and accounting. And the evidence has consistently shown the financial benefits for small businesses embracing digital.
“But business owners say they simply do not have the time or money to spend on expanding their digital footprint and capabilities. We want to encourage more organisations to help small business owners get the access to support and guidance they need in order to succeed and grow.
“It is fantastic that one million small businesses have benefited from Do It Digital, however there is still plenty of work to be done in order to accelerate the pace of digital engagement among small firms.”
Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “It’s brilliant that one million small firms have benefited from digital skills training.
“As we know, embracing digital technology helps small businesses be more productive. But it’s vital that the benefits of going digital continue to be highlighted, and small businesses and their staff are encouraged to develop their skills to take advantage of technology and remain competitive.
“If the digital potential of small firms is nurtured, we stand a real chance of creating more world-beating businesses and boosting growth.”