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Thousands of SMEs across Scotland are set to benefit from vital free support after the Economy Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, announced that it was trebling funding for Business Gateway’s DigitalBoost skills programme.

The £1.5m of funding is considered a critical lifeline for helping many businesses to overcome the exceptional challenges brought about by COVID-19.

Now in its fifth year, DigitalBoost is a national digital business skills programme which provides businesses with free support to help them take advantage of technologies, improve productivity, increase resilience, and create new market opportunities.

DigitalBoost has received annual funding since being established and this year’s twofold increase underlines the importance of the programme and its role in contributing to the country’s economic recovery.

The funding will run until 5 April 2021 with hopes that it will continue further beyond that.

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Economy Secretary, commented: “We are focused on taking immediate action to support our economy as we look to rebuild after COVID-19 and by investing in jobs and digital technology we will create the foundations of a strong recovery for Scotland.

“There is no denying the challenge that lies ahead, but the pandemic has also provided us with an opportunity to rebuild better. COVID-19 has underlined the economic importance of digital capacity and capability - the businesses that have coped best are those who have been digitally capable. By almost trebling funding for the DigitalBoost programme for this financial year, more of Scotland’s SMEs will be able to improve their productivity and reach, while increasing their resilience.”

Welcoming the additional funding, Cllr Steven Heddle, COSLA Spokesperson for Environment and Economy, commented: “During this pandemic, Business Gateway’s DigitalBoost programme has repositioned itself to help businesses adapt and survive the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Businesses are vital to Scottish local economies and as outlined in the Government’s Economic Recovery Implementation Plan, digital upskilling and maximising the use of technology will be a powerful tool in helping to bring the country out of this financial crisis. The additional funds for DigitalBoost will allow Business Gateway to add both more and broader digital support to what is already a fantastic service."

DigitalBoost provides local workshops, 1:1 support from a digital expert, online tutorials, and practical guides on topics including social media, cyber resilience, data analytics, digital marketing strategy and e-commerce. Another key component of the DigitalBoost service is a five-minute online health check businesses can take to assess their digital strengths and weaknesses.

Since the launch of DigitalBoost in 2016:

  • Over 36,000 hours of one-to-one support have been provided, free of charge, to over 2,000 businesses
  • Over 16,500 business owners have attended local workshops and webinars with 94% rating them good or better than good
  • Over 7,000 businesses have undertaken a digital health check
  • A staggering 22,000+ digital guides have been downloaded – an increase of almost 50% in the past year
  • Over 7,000 businesses have benefited from online tutorials

For more information and to get support for your business visit the DigitalBoost website.

Kate Buckle
Article by Kate Buckle
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