A new programme, Trading Better Online, has been launched by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to help small businesses improve their digital presence.

Delivered in partnership with TechSPARK, the programme is designed to help small businesses get online, enhance their online presence, or market their existing online offering by adopting new technology or new digital practices.

Businesses will be matched to a consultant and supported through up to four days of hands-on support to develop and enhance their web presence. The support is fully funded and bespoke to each company’s requirements, giving them access to the tailored expertise they need to boost their business.

Mayor of the West of England, Tim Bowles, said: “I’m backing the West of England’s businesses to help trade their way out of the coronavirus outbreak. That’s why I’m expanding the role of the West of England Growth Hub to help firms to recover and adapt to new ways of doing business.

“This scheme is completely free and helps businesses strengthen their online presence, protects jobs, encourages growth and boosts their resilience. I hope that as many businesses as possible take advantage and get in touch with the Growth Hub to find out more.”

TechSPARK Director Abby Frear, said: “The West of England’s tech and digital community is one of the most innovative, supportive and collaborative in the UK – we’re looking forward to connecting that wealth of expertise to businesses who need support to adapt and thrive in a post-coronavirus economy.”

John Henderson, Director at Nextgen Electrical Contractors Ltd said: “As a commercial electrical contractor, we’ve always relied on word of mouth, unfortunately, like many other businesses COVID-19 has had a huge impact on us. Being part of this new scheme would really help us to adapt. Trading Better Online could help us move towards strengthening our online presence and building a more resilient business for the future.”

The programme can help businesses:

  • Develop an online presence, for example creating a new website or social media presence
  • Increase engagement with customers online, such as developing their digital marketing strategy or adopting a new customer relationship management (CRM) system
  • Start selling products online, for example setting up an eCommerce platform

Eligible businesses will be based in the West of England (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire), and be a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) with fewer than 250 employees.

Businesses interested in participating in the scheme should contact the West of England Growth Hub for further information via www.wearegrowth.co.uk
or wearegrowth@westofengland-ca.gov.uk

Trading Better Online is part of the West of England Combined Authority’s (WECA) targeted business support programme to help kick-start the regional economy following the coronavirus outbreak.

The West of England Growth Hub plays a key role in delivering this programme, by helping SMEs access tailored business support, find and navigate information, and expand their networks. The Growth Hub is the West of England’s dedicated business support service which offers free, one-to-one advice and guidance for SMEs to help them innovate and adapt, build resilience and grow.

The Growth Hub has expanded during the crisis and has played an important part in directing businesses to grants and support available following the Coronavirus outbreak. Details of grants, such as the small business discretionary fund that closes on 8 June, are on the Growth Hub website. www.wearegrowth.co.uk

WECA’s focus is on rebuilding a strong regional economy, to enable long-term recovery for the West of England. The aim is to help businesses build their financial resilience, innovate and adopt best practice, and boost their productivity.

The business support programme is part of WECA’s wider economic development activity, which includes sector-specific business support, skills and employment initiatives and working with councils to support businesses at a local level.