The government has today announced details of a new Business Basics Fund, targeting £100bn in untapped economic potential.
Launched as part of the government’s industrial strategy, the £8m fund seeks to help more of England’s small business owners adopt tried and tested technologies to drive greater productivity.
The fund is being delivered by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in partnership with Innovate UK, which will assist businesses, charities, trade organisations and public sector organisations support small business owners with their digital transformation.
Small business minister, Andrew Griffiths, announced the fund during a speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), after new CBI research found that greater of adoption among small firms of technologies such as cloud computing, mobile technology and e-purchasing, could unlock a £100bn dividend for the UK economy.
Griffiths said: “With more than 1,000 new businesses starting up every day, and it is vital that we support them to grow through our modern industrial strategy.
“The Business Basics Fund will test new and innovative ways of supporting small businesses to take advantage of technologies and management practices – giving small business leaders the tools and support they need to continue to thrive.”
Details about available funding and the application process is available from the Innovation Funding Service. £2m has been made available in the opening round of the Business Basics Fund.
Commenting on Britain’s productivity challenges, Matthew Fell, CBI UK chief policy director, said: “Put simply, UK businesses must do more to improve their productivity to get themselves match fit to compete globally in the years ahead. Low uptake of the nuts and bolts technologies of today is a key feature of the productivity puzzle that can, and must, be tackled.
UK business technology adoption levels are close to the EU average but far behind the front runners, lagging nearly a decade behind the Danes.
The new Industrial Strategy can be the perfect vehicle to get to grips with this missing piece of the jigsaw.
Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of innovation foundation Nesta, welcomed the Business Basics Fund
He said: “Nesta has advocated and run experiments in business support across the world through our Innovation Growth Lab which has worked with a dozen governments.
“With this move, the UK is taking a lead in applying experimental methods to boosting productivity – much the best way of ensuring that in the long run public money goes on programmes that really do work.”
The government’s industrial strategy is focused on five “foundations of productivity”: ideas, place, infrastructure, business environment and people.
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