Almost a quarter million SMEs have enhanced their digital skills thanks to Vodafone Business
Mar 10, 2023
- More than 230,000 SMEs given free online training courses, mentoring and workshops to boost digital skills.
- Vodafone Business making strong progress towards commitment of providing digital skills to 800,000 SMEs by 2025.
Vodafone Business has helped more than 230,000 small and medium-sized businesses enhance their digital skills and boost their digital transformation processes over the past two years – free of charge.
Aimed at start-ups and small firms, Vodafone’s business.connected programme offers a wide variety of free online training courses, mentoring and workshops to help SMEs maximise business opportunities online, adopt new technology, mitigate cyber-attacks and meet with other like-minded individuals.
Launched during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business.connected initiative has pledged to upskill the online capabilities of 800,000 SMEs by 2025, backed by a collective of leading banking and technology companies including JPMorgan Chase, Sage, Builder.ai and delivered by small business support platform Enterprise Nation.
business.connected training courses focus on everything from setting up a new website, online trading, using collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, making the best decisions for your connectivity, and protecting yourself and customers from cyber-attacks. Different levels of training are available to cater to those just starting their online journey or looking to build on existing experience.
Courses have resonated particularly well with Britain’s SoHo (Small Office, Home Office) businesses – defined as those organisations with 10 workers or fewer – who account for 9-in-10 sign-ups to the programme.
Food & drink and technology businesses (11%) both lead the way in terms of sectors taking advantage of courses, followed by health & wellness businesses (9%), those in the creative & media sector (9%), and business services (9%).
London (37%), south-east England (17%), north-west England (8%), south-west England (6%) and the West Midlands (6%) make up the leading regions where businesses are engaged with business.connected courses.
Bristol-based entrepreneur Angela Loveridge is one such business owner who has benefited from the business.connected programme, having taken on a number of the courses to improve her social media and online marketing skills.
Angela launched her online safety consultancy Better Together in 2016, which offers child online safety workshops and customised family support designed for parents, guardians, caregivers, teachers and non-teaching professionals.
Reflecting on her own approach, Angela commented: “Working in online safety I need to be on top of what’s happening. Having a tech background helps you to feel comfortable in that realm – but what you know may not last., you must keep learning.
“I was interested in raising awareness about my workshops and services via social media and getting them in front of more customers. In making that decision, I went on to access different areas of support and on the back of that I did my first video recording and posted it on LinkedIn. This was monumental for me.”
Angela added: “I’ve gone on to access more general business support and now I’m using a calendar and template to increase the frequency of posts and co-ordinate marketing. Finding the right support to set you on the road is one of those things.
“It’s out there, but you have to know where to find it.”
Andrew Stevens, Vodafone’s Head of UK Small and Medium Business, said: “We launched the business.connected initiative during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic to better support those small businesses who had very little experience in using digital tools to stay connected to their customers and improve their confidence in adopting new technologies.
“It’s great to see that so many businesses have benefited from this and that we are well on our way to meeting our commitment to help 800,000 SMEs gain digital skills so that they are able to reap the full benefits of the digital economy.
“We look forward to accomplishing our 800,000 SMEs target alongside our network of fantastic partners including Enterprise Nation, Sage, JPMorgan Chase and Builders.ai.”
Emma Jones, CBE, Founder, Enterprise Nation, said: “Increasing digital capacity is a key driver of productivity and growth. Embedding a culture of digital intelligence and data literacy is one of the ways our own small business community can thrive and compete convincingly with the rest of the world.
“Vodafone’s business.connected is already making good progress by building a wave of digital adoption which could transform our global performance and help the UK’s smaller firms achieve important growth.”
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