Head of Small & SME Business at Vodafone UK, Jonathan Kini on how the government plans to enable SMEs in the UK to grow their business through improved connectivity and fixed line broadband.
It’s no surprise that being connected to the Internet is vital for any business and being without a broadband connection can stifle growth, especially for a thriving small business. Only 8% (around 230) of all 2,869 SMEs surveyed in Gov UK’s small business survey 2012 reported having no Internet connection. A missed opportunity for those companies, as the same survey foundd businesses with a website (72%) are more likely to expect growth than those without one (37%).
According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, slow broadband and poor access to fibre-optic technology is costing London businesses up to £37 million a year. The data reported that more than 400,000 small and medium sized enterprises struggle on a regular basis with unreliable Internet connection.
Vodafone is backing the Government’s Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme
To help eradicate this issue and bolster the UK’s small business community, the Government is launching the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme, where SMEs can apply for a grant towards the costs of an improved fixed line broadband connection.
The scheme, is active in 22 cities across the UK, and runs until March 2016. There is a total of £40m available and businesses can apply for up to £3,000 towards their new fixed line broadband connection.
SMEs could benefit from quicker and more reliable communications, where files download faster and video conferencing connections are more stable. They can also take full advantage of cloud-based applications and services such as data storage or office software, as well as improve their customer service and responsiveness. The Government’s investment in ultra-fast fixed line broadband not only aids small business growth, but makes the UK a more attractive place to do business. Joining a list of over 650 suppliers, Vodafone aims to be at the forefront of advocating technology and growth for SMEs in the UK through improved Internet connectivity.
Who can apply?
The scheme is open to SMEs, registered charities, social enterprises and sole traders who need a new broadband connection costing over £100. It is possible to apply for a connection at home if this is the main work base, but not if you work from home only occasionally. Moreover, the broadband service must deliver a speed or performance improvement on any current connection. The scheme is not open to those who have received more than around £120,000 in grants in the last 3 years.
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