Technology pioneers lead the charge to accelerate UK SMB digital adoption

UK technology pioneers are collaborating to launch a solution to help accelerate digital adoption amongst small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to help boost the nation’s productivity, it has been announced.

British telecommunications provider Vodafone UK, global tech innovation firm Cisco, SMB technology company Sage and Google are among the backers of a new generation Tech Hub, which aims to be a universal one-stop-shop solution for the UK’s 5.6 million SMBs to upskill, up-tool and embed technology into their business.

Tech Hub is a dynamic, intuitive platform designed to scale tech adoption and boost digital investment and skills by delivering customised digital recommendations, product offers, and practical learning in one place.  

According to the World Economic Forum, the UK ranks 31st in the world for tech and ICT adoption.

“We are falling behind,” said Emma Jones, CBE, Founder and CEO of Enterprise Nation, the business support technology specialist behind the Tech Hub.

“But we can change this. The UK has the experience and the expertise to lead the world in building a digital one-stop-shop that can revolutionise tech adoption. Tech Hub is backed by experts and is the merging of brilliant minds which all understand that failing to tackle the UK’s poor digital performance now is simply storing up problems for years, and possibly decades to come.

“If entrepreneurs don’t know where to turn for accessible, pragmatic digital advice, on say Artificial Intelligence, or time management tools, how can we expect to see the improvement in productivity we need so that the UK can compete on a global scale? By bringing this idea to life now, we hope Tech Hub can unlock new ambition and maximise possibilities while minimising risk.”

Minister for Tech and Digital Economy, Paul Scully said: “It’s clear that businesses thrive when they truly embrace the benefits of digital technology and embed it into their operations. With the right tools and support available, we see increased productivity and boosted profits – which leads to economic growth and better paid jobs.   

“Tools like this hub will help small businesses enhance their digital capabilities and drive forward with digital transformation, opening up a whole new world of opportunity and growth.”

Research from Sage’s Digital Britain: How Small Businesses are turning the tide on tech report found enhanced tech adoption could unlock £232 billion for the UK economy. 

The hub aims to create a much broader tech adoption by helping businesses identify which technology is going to make the most impact and provide signposting to clear instructions on how to embed the selected tech tools into their processes to take the pain out of the process.

Enterprise Nation research found a quarter (25%) of SMBs are buying technology and not using these tools due to lack of knowledge and training. The research found the experience of wasting resources left businesses feeling short changed.  

The group plans to launch a new Tech Consortium, which will see policy leads from major technology brands come together to discuss how digital performance amongst SMBs can be boosted across the UK. 

Emma added: “The Help to Grow: Digital initiative was a brilliant idea in principle, but it closed earlier this year. We need to build on what it achieved, and Tech Hub is perfectly placed to help with this.”  

Tech Hub is free to use and works by automatically analysing individual technology requirements and confidence levels and generating practical digital recommendations based on expert knowledge and guided by real experience.  

Paul Struthers, MD, Sage UKI, said: “The digital economy is the key growth sector and will help to deliver a new generation of enterprise, tech start-ups and innovation. We therefore need to empower small and mid-sized businesses to embrace digitalisation and harness emerging technology.

“By creating digital first businesses, the UK is set to gain by a staggering £232 billion every year. We must unlock this opportunity by creating a world-leading digital economy to accelerate growth."