Help to Grow scheme expanded to the smallest businesses
The government’s Help to Grow: Digital Scheme is to be expanded to businesses with fewer than five employees, which will see over a million businesses eligible.
The scheme has also been expanded to include a one-to one advice programme and additional software.
What is the Help to Grow Scheme?
The Help to Grow scheme was launched in January 2022, but the government has not published figures on the level of uptake. It provides discounts to small and medium-sized businesses looking to buy digital technologies and software. Businesses can get up to 50% off approved technology solutions, saving up to £5,000 in related costs.
Who is eligible for help to grow scheme?
Eligibility to the scheme has been expanded to businesses with at least one employee, meaning more than 1.2 million businesses could benefit. Previously, businesses with only more than five employees were eligible for the scheme.
Businesses which employ between 1-249 employees can now access a variety of discounts worth up to £5,000 on 30 approved software solutions, which include 14 technology suppliers for CRM software and digital accounting.
The scheme has also been extended to cover ecommerce software for the first time, which includes helping businesses to manage inventory, take payments and gather data and insights on customer needs.
Alan Mak, Exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘Extending our Help to Grow: Digital scheme will enable thousands more SMEs to become more innovative, more competitive, and more profitable.’
The changes come after a campaign led by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), which was organised in February.
Phil Hall, head of public affairs & public policy at AAT said: ‘AAT has always supported the ambition and objectives of this scheme because we recognise that many small and medium-sized businesses would greatly benefit from adopting new technology.
‘However, we didn’t think it sensible to exclude over 90% of small businesses by requiring businesses to employ five or more staff to be eligible, and instead felt any company employing one or more individuals should be able to participate.’
The scheme will also provide one-to-one advice for SMEs, including recommendations on how businesses can adopt digital technology and software to help boost productivity. Applications for advice platforms will be launched today, and the advice service will go live later this year.
In response to the announcement, the 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.’
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