With almost 50% of small businesses said to be without a website and, of those that are online, only a few taking the opportunity to trade, Emma Jones outlines the need for a Go and Grow campaign to help British businesses make the most of the web.

With over 2 billion people online across the globe, this represents a big opportunity for small business. Having a website to showcase your products and services is like having a shop window that the world can see into, at any time of the day (or night!) It’s never been so easy to launch online with template website providers, blogging platforms and social media. So why is it that so many businesses are yet to embrace the web and reap the rewards?

In April Lloyds Bank released their UK Business Digital Index which revealed:

  • 29% of small businesses and charities believe being online isn't relevant to their business
  • Only 50% have a website and, on the whole, those that do are only providing basic functionality
  • A third of businesses are without basic online skills and 75% don't invest any money in improving digital skills

This was closely followed by the launch of a Digital Inclusion Charter by Cabinet Office to close the gap between those making the most of e-commerce, and those who are not.

Surprised by these findings and in the midst of hosting five sell-out events aimed at arming small businesses with the information they need to get online, Enterprise Nation approached Cabinet Office to say we wanted to act. The result is that one week today we launch a 12-month Go and Grow Online campaign that has two simple aims: 

  • To encourage more small business to get online, and
  • To support existing online traders to grow

The campaign is being backed by three global brands to be announced on the night. They are companies that have the tools and infrastructure to enable greater business digital adoption across the UK. The campaign is also being supported by national digital charity, Go On UK.

On launch night, 150 small business guests will hear from successful e-commerce entrepreneurs who are operating in the fields of travel, fashion and fast moving consumer goods. They will talk about how they got started, how they’re going global, and plans for the future. None of their businesses would be what they are today if they hadn’t gone online and embraced the web.

Campaigns start with launch nights but activity doesn’t stop there. Over the 12 months from July 31st, there will be a dedicated micro-site filled with free and useful guides, monthly events in London and key cities, webinars with e-commerce guests, and a digital tracker to report on progress. The campaign will be measured against its aims of getting more businesses online and helping existing online businesses to grow.

Emma Jones

If you are a business that fits into either of these categories, please join us for the launch or follow @e_nation on Twitter for live updates on the night. 

Emma Jones is founder of Enterprise Nation

Have your say

Shaun Carvill
Shaun Carvill

Well done for this i image Emma, this is exactly what we have needed for years. Having provided web advice for 20 years I have seen much shortsightedness by particularly SME's in tackling the Internet revolution. We need the government to provide funding for actual development rather than just advice. It's not that the businesses do not want to do anything, it's often a lack of funding dedicated to this type of marketing and sales route that is the cause of the problem. I can advise someone for years but unless there is a financial incentive they are often reluctant to act. Well done for this work though.

Graham Williams
Graham Williams

How can you have digital inclusion when so much of the country has, and is destined to have for the indefinite future, an appalling broadband service? You cannot operate a growing e-commerce or digital business on 2mb down and 0.5mb up speeds.

Graham Williams
Graham Williams

How can you have digital inclusion when so much of the country has, and is destined to have for the indefinite future, an appalling broadband service? You cannot operate a growing e-commerce or digital business on 2mb down and 0.5mb up speeds.

Peony and Thistle
Peony and Thistle

Is there any chance of this being recorded and put online? Would love to hear it all!

Emma Jones
Emma Jones

Hi Peony and Thistle - we will be tweeting top tips throughout the event and then uploading a Storify on the site the next day so hope this helps. @Graham ... I hear you and one of the campaign sponsors can certainly help with this. We will look at this topic throughout the campaign. @Shaun - thanks, understood. I wonder if a company could be encouraged to provide financial backing as opposed to government eg 'Go and Grow Online' mini grants. Not sure if this could interest any corporate partners but we'll do some work to find out!

Brian at Home Exchange 50plus
Brian at Home Exchange 50plus

A most enjoyable and interesting evening. On the positive side lots of useful info provided by the excellent speakers but if I am being negative it was a challenge finding the location, and I wasn't the only one so it wasn't just me, and although the drinks and nibbles were great afterwards, it was so noisy that carrying out a conversation with others was near impossible unless you could find a quieter spot.

Thanks

Brian Luckhurst

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