New free tool to help small businesses and charities develop “essential digital skills”

A free online platform will support Britain’s six million small businesses and charities develop “essential digital skills”, it has been announced.

Digital Boost – launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in collaboration with Founders4Schools and BCG Digital Ventures – comes as businesses across the country are forced to adapt to strict social distancing laws.

The free-to-use platform also comes after recent research revealed that less than a third of small businesses have a “high degree of digitalisation” – meaning few are prepared to sell and market their products and services online.

“At this critical time, Digital Boost not only wants to help small businesses and charities survive the COVID crisis, but also contribute to their long-term competitiveness in today’s digital world,” say the creators.

According to reports, the new platform will have three core service offerings to help equip small businesses and charities with digital skills.

These include “Boost Calls” – one-to-one mentoring sessions with digital volunteers from leading tech and finance firms (such as Google, Oxford University, McCann and Global Tech Advocates), interactive group masterclasses run by digital experts, known as “Boost Workshops, and a raft of online content on digitalisation, known as “Boost Skills”.

Commenting on the announcement, Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture at DCMS, said: “It is vital small businesses and charities are able to seize the benefits of modern technology. The new Digital Boost platform will help these organisations develop the skills they need. We look forward to helping build a community of digital experts, who are able to offer guidance and support to these organisations free of charge at this challenging time.”

Welcoming the launch, Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director at the CBI, added: “Adopting digital technologies can help firms grow, find opportunity and be more resilient, so the potential impact of Digital Boost is enormous. Digital Boost promises to help businesses and charities find opportunity amid this crisis by embracing the digitalisation of their industries to support a stronger, more productive recovery.”

To access Digital Boost, please click here.

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