02 Feb Help to grow
Deploying the right software can make a measurable difference to business outcomes. So much so that, according to the State of Small Business Britain 2018 report, businesses which use CRM systems to manage their sales and customers see on average an 18% boost to their productivity; whilst deploying digital accounting software or eCommerce software can over three years lead to an increase of 11.8% and 7.5% respectively in employee sales.
Those figures were quoted by the Government as part of the rationale behind their decision to expand their Help to Grow: Digital scheme. The scheme enables companies to obtain a discount of 50% of the cost of approved software, up to a maximum of £5,000.
Previously applying to companies with between 5 and 249 employees; with effect from July 2022 companies with a single employee who is not an owner can now access the scheme. At the same time eCommerce software has been added to the existing offering of Digital Accounting and CRM software. The Government has also announced that it will be introducing a Help to Grow: Digital advice service later in the year.
It is worth noting that at present applicants to the Help to Grow scheme are restricted to a choice of thirty software solutions across the three sectors. In addition, applications can only be made in respect of one software solution. To qualify, companies also have to be based in the UK and either registered with Companies House or be a registered society on the Financial Conduct Authorities Mutuals Register. The date of incorporation has to be at least 365 days prior to application and the company has to have actively traded for at least 12 months. The approved software also has to be purchased for the first time.
Commenting on the expansion of the Help to Grow: Digital scheme Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Martin McTague said: “Reducing the threshold to one employee really makes a difference in this space. Together with the addition of e-Commerce software and one-to-one advice for SMEs on technology adoption, this will enable more small businesses to fulfil their growth ambitions and in turn spur our economy.”It is worth noting that Help to Grow: Digital sits alongside a Help to Grow: Management scheme. This offers business leaders fifty hours of leadership and management training over a twelve week period with up to 90% of the costs covered by the Government.