Having spent years getting to know and understand the requirements of small businesses up and down the country, I’m extremely passionate about the need to go ‘beyond banking’.
Essentially, how banks and other institutions can help businesses with skills gaps, such as online marketing, and the many administrative challenges these entrepreneurs face on a daily basis. Our research tells us that over 70% of Britain’s small businesses and entrepreneurs would like more support when it comes to embracing digital and having an online presence.
Digital capabilities are becoming increasingly crucial for small business owners and there are a lot of compelling reasons why firms must find the time to embrace the digital world once and for all. With more fundamental services, such as tax, moving to digital submission, and an increasing portion of sales driven from social media and online sources, acquiring digital skills is no longer a choice.
In response to this, TSB has been working closely with one of the most dynamic business membership organisations in the UK — Enterprise Nation — to help boost the digital capability of small businesses and entrepreneurs right across Britain. We are now beginning to see the benefits of such a much-needed service and the advantages it has brought to some of our customers in helping them thrive by tackling everyday challenges head on.
The partnership offers our business banking customers a years’ free membership of Enterprise Nation and a ‘digital MOT’ to determine what advice and support will best help them start, run and grow their business.
To kick-start their digital transformation, these small businesses receive a digital voucher bundle worth up to £500, which can be used, for example, to fund advertising search credits, help build a website or buy new technology. Big brands backing the programme to support the small business cause include Google, GoDaddy, Experian and Xero. TSB customers will be able to use their digital voucher offers with these partners and many more. To support this, we also have some Enterprise Nation digital advisers in some of our branches to give face-to-face advice, a scheme we're hoping to expand very soon.
With the help of Enterprise Nation, we can now personalise solutions and avoid the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. The partnership is helping us to develop and deliver quality and digital support, and I’m delighted we can offer this to the small businesses and entrepreneurs that we serve right across the country.
Our work with Enterprise Nation doesn’t stop there. We’re partnering with them to kick-start the next generation of entrepreneurs. First, we’ve been hosting ‘Start Something’ workshops across the country, giving guidance on how young people can start their own business which, combined with online resources, will train 10,000 young people alone.
Second, last week I was delighted to sit on a judging panel to select winners of the Next Generation Awards for the best young businesses. We saw nine candidates, each with brilliant ideas and huge passion and energy, and we selected winners in three age categories. The young people we are meeting through this partnership are the future of our local economies and I’m delighted we can provide the support and advice in conjunction with Enterprise Nation to help them develop.
With our ambition of bringing services to our customers that are beyond banking, we feel we have an important role to play in this space. In partnership with Enterprise Nation, we have made significant steps to doing just that and we are confident that we will have lots more to come in the future.
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