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£20 million UK Government grant driving digital transformation for SMEs

A £20 million grant from the UK Government will be helping businesses to adapt to remote working and the challenges of COVID-19.

The new fund is designed to help SMEs in England to upgrade technology and purchase any equipment they require to better cope with post-pandemic ways of working.

It follows recent research by Webexpenses that highlights a growing demand from employees for better technology and tools as they manage the move to home-based work.

A global study of more than 1,100 users found that 93% of respondents hoped that the pandemic would act as a catalyst for digital transformation within their business.

The UK Government grant aims to help businesses achieve this digital change by supporting employers who are investing in better technology, equipment, and digital services.

Building stronger businesses

Grants between £1,000 and £5,000 will be awarded to fund improvements that provide companies with the flexibility required to handle the COVID-19 restrictions and a move away from office-based practices.

Simon Clarke MP, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, commented on

“We have always said that we would stand behind our businesses and communities as we rebuild following the coronavirus pandemic. This new funding does exactly that.

“Businesses will be able to use these new grants to pay for the expertise, equipment and technology they need to adapt, recover and rebuild.

“Small and medium-sized businesses are the beating heart of communities; they provide employment and contribute significantly to local economies and we are determined to give them the support they need to continue to thrive.”

The need for digital transformation

The government grants will encourage more companies to move away from traditional working practices which struggle to handle the shift to remote operations. Any paper-based ways of working are particularly inefficient when used with a distributed workforce.

The Webexpenses study found that the top three tech issues being faced by employees who have recently made the switch to remote working are:

  • 62% Access issues (documents, networks, software)
  • 19% Supporting colleagues to use technology
  • 18% Inadequate equipment and tools

Read the full analysis, Webexpenses study shows push for digital transformation.

Allocation of the grants will be handled by the local Growth Hubs led by the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) for each English region. You can find a list of them here: Local Growth Hub Contacts