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On the 4th of April, the UK Government announced a £520m Help to Grow scheme to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) across the UK. The initiative is aimed at helping businesses reach their full potential with training and digital software to make up for the drawbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This scheme is set to not only boost the digital competencies of SMEs, but also reshape the nation’s technological infrastructure. We have put together the key points of the scheme, encouraging SMEs owners to research and apply.

Small businesses have been some of the worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, lacking the resources needed to recover in the same manner as bigger companies. The Help to Grow scheme, which is part of the government’s budget for 2021, comes as a response to the struggles faced by businesses due to the pandemic.

The scheme is divided in two main streams, Management and Digital. The first one, starting in June, is a 12-week programme aimed at business leaders who want to improve their management and strategic skills to grow their business. 90 per cent of the training is discounted by the government, leaving a cost of £750 for participants, which will go towards a mentoring scheme and workshops from leading business schools.

The Digital stream, which will become available this autumn, will provide SMEs with valuable training on how to boost their digital performance. Some businesses will also be eligible for a 50 per cent discount on approved software worth up to £5,000.

For examples, companies could invest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools or cloud-based software. Such solutions are essential for easy access to company data but also to increase productivity and collaboration. Furthermore, a CRM system can give everyone in the company a clear overview of the customers and make it simpler to monitor each interaction.

Eligibility criteria are:

·         UK business from any sector which is registered at Companies House

·         The business must have been operating for more than one year.

·         The business must have between five and 249 employees.

·         The business must be purchasing the discounted software for the first time.

Interested companies can register their interest here for the Management programme. To stay up to date with the latest developments and news in the industry, go to EU Automation’s Knowledge Hub. The platform is free and it contains interviews, articles, two e-books and audio content to help your business grow.

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