12th November 2015
Small and medium-sized businesses represent 99% of all UK firms, have a combined annual turnover of £1.6 trillion, and provide 60% of private sector jobs. There’s no question that they are an essential component of our country’s macroeconomic stability; creating jobs, contributing to productivity levels, and a key driver of our economic success.
As any entrepreneur will tell you, nothing in business ever stands still. Whether it’s the challenges around workforce dynamics, operational cash flow, or expanding into high-growth markets, the ability to adapt and keep pace is by far the most crucial factor for success.
It’s the relationship between technological investment and growth which provides SMEs with significant opportunities. We pride ourselves on helping firms adapt to the complexities that modern technology can impose, and to turn them to their advantage. Proof points of this philosophy in action are the work we’re doing in London’s Tech City and Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
For more significant evidence that we’re putting our money where our mouth is, look no further than our £3 billion investment to connect 4 million more homes and businesses to our ultrafast network: taking our reach to 17 million UK premises.
It stands to reason that we’ll all benefit if British businesses are connected to one other, and to the rest of the world, in the best and most efficient way possible. In October we released a report revealing a £92 billion opportunity for the UK’s bottom line - should firms get their digital capabilities in order. For SMEs, harnessing the correct digital skills could provide a £56 billion boost.
Following the closure of the Government’s Super Connected Cities scheme, we’re now offering a free broadband installation scheme for businesses. This means we’ll cover up to £1k of broadband set-up costs for small businesses. Ultimately the scheme should be reintroduced but, in the meantime, it’s our number one priority to maintain this hugely successful national programme of getting UK businesses online.
The digital world is an ever-increasing and indispensable resource; cloud-based platforms, live streaming, virtual manipulatives, the list goes on and on. Broadband speeds matter hugely, especially to take full advantage of what’s on offer online. Early next year, the top tier speed on our best bundle for business will be 300Mbps: this doubles what we currently provide, and will trump our rivals’ offers by being almost four times faster.
As well as having the best connection, and the fastest speeds, growing businesses also need all the help they can get in raising money to scale up. We want to help here too, so Liberty Global has teamed up with Techstars to allow Virgin Media to offer start-ups an accelerator incentive for capital investment and expertise. The detail is quite dense so I’ll let you read more about it here, but the top line is that we’re now on the hunt for the most innovative start-ups from around the world – could it be yours?
The online world is complex and yet full of unparalleled opportunities for businesses with the desire to grow. One of the best ways SMEs can navigate the pitfalls, and grasp the best of what’s available, is to let us give them a helping hand.
Nothing in business ever stands still; how can we help you to adapt and keep pace? Take a closer look here.