The government’s recently launched Help to Grow: Digital scheme has two aspects: impartial advice and guidance about how digital technology can boost a business’s performance, plus a potential discount worth up to £5,000 towards the cost of buying approved software.
Announced last March ahead of the 2021 Budget, the scheme aims to combat problems of cost and lack of knowledge, often seen as barriers to adopting new digital technologies.
Advice and guidance
The new scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses adopt digital technologies. On the Help to Grow: Digital website you can find:
- Guidance and tools to help understand which digital technology is best suited to your business;
- A software comparison tool;
- Checklists to help you assess whether you’re ready and how to integrate new software; and
- Case studies about similar businesses.
A 50% discount, capped at £5,000 (excluding VAT), is available towards the retail cost of approved software that helps a business to build customer relationships and increase sales, or to manage accounts and finances. Only one software product can qualify for the discount, and only the first 12 months of software costs are covered.
Additional software products, including e-Commerce software, are expected to become available for Help to Grow: Digital discounts soon.
The eligibility criteria includes:
- Being incorporated and trading for at least 12 months;
- Having between five and 249 employees; and
- Purchasing the approved software for the first time.
Examples of how digital technology can help a business include automatic invoice generation, expenditure tracking, reaching new customers through data collection, using automation to reduce time spent on administration, and storing information in one central, accessible location. Cloud services are increasingly popular, yet many small business owners do not use them.
The new digital initiative sits alongside the Help to Grow: Management scheme launched last year. This provides 12 weeks of management training for just £750. Courses are run at leading business schools across the UK.