Responding to the Government’s announcement today (July 27) that the Help to Grow: Digital scheme is to be expanded to businesses with fewer than five employees, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) national chair, Martin McTague, said:

“This is an extremely welcome move – the Government has rightly listened to FSB’s call to expand digital support to all small employers.

“Until today, the majority of small businesses were arbitrarily excluded from the scheme due to the requirement to employ at least five employees. Many of them want to make productivity gains through technology adoption. However, they often do not have the resources to do so, especially when they are faced with steep inflation, soaring energy bills, supply chain disruption and a widespread labour shortage under the cost of doing business crisis.

“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.

“Research shows adopting relevant software for three years or more translates into higher sales per employee – the use of CRM boosts this by 18.4% while adopting cloud-based computing means a 13.5% increase. E-commerce software also pushes sales per employee up by 7.5%.

“We encourage small businesses to consider how best they can use this scheme, which will have real benefits for the way they conduct business.

“We are glad that Ministers are listening to our views and look forward to continuing to work with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on helping small firms grow their business through technology adoption.”