Government extends small business eligibility for Help to Grow: Digital scheme

Government extends small business eligibility for Help to Grow: Digital scheme
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Mon 25th Jul 2022

Businesses with only one employee can now take part in the government's scheme providing discounted digital software.

Help to Grow: Digital was previously open to UK businesses registered at Companies House with between five and 249 employees. Eligibility has now been widened to one staff member (who isn't the business owner) as the minimum requirement.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the change increases the number of eligible businesses by 760,000 to 1.24m.

Help to Grow: Digital

Originally announced by former chancellor Rishi Sunak in the March 2021 Budget, the scheme aims to improve business productivity and growth.

Businesses can get 50% off software they are buying for the first time, up to a maximum cost of £5,000. Ecommerce solutions have today been added to the software available, which also includes accounting and customer relationship management products.

Later this year, Help to Grow: Digital will also provide small business owners with one-to-one advice from experts on how they can best adopt digital technology. It will include a voucher for SMEs to access a 50% discount on digital advice.

Business minister Lord Callanan said:

"Boosting productivity isn't some abstract concept to be sniffed at – for individual SMEs it means bigger sales and breaking into new markets. It can add £100 billion to the British economy overall, creating jobs and opportunity across the country.

"Adopting the latest technology is proven to help businesses make the most of their potential, and by making more than one million firms eligible for the scheme, we’re helping to level up the UK economy and bolster the ability of our businesses to compete with the best worldwide."

Enterprise Nation has previously called for the scheme to be extended to enable more businesses to benefit.

We asked for it in a report in March 2022 ahead of the government's Spring Statement and also in a November 2021 study with Dropbox on the benefits of digital technology.

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said:

"This is a great announcement from government and shows the business department has listened to the feedback offered from small business groups and businesses themselves who wanted the scheme eligibility widened. Doing so will bring digital tools and techniques to a much wider audience of small businesses at a time they need it most.

"We are also delighted with the move to open up vouchers so a portion of the budget can be spent on digital advice. We genuinely believe that digital tools are more likely to be deployed within a business if the purchase of that tool is served with advice on how to make the most of it.

"We look forward to working with government to see Help to Grow truly embraced by small businesses."


Help to Grow: Management Course – Develop your business with a mentor

Help to Grow: Management Course

The government also runs the Help to Grow: Management Course, the eligibility for which remains as businesses with between five and 249 employees.

It includes a 90% government funded 12-week management course. From August, participating businesses will be matched with a voluntary mentor to help them develop a growth action plan.

Enterprise Nation is one of three small business support providers delivering the mentoring element.

Business owners and experts can sign up to be a voluntary mentor.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.