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UK's £520m SMB digital support fund welcomed by techUK

Government support for digitisation could lead to 400,000 jobs and £21 billion in economic output, according to Sage research

techUK, the lobby group for the country's technology sector, has welcomed a £520 million digital support package for small businesses that is set to be announced in the government's budget.

The 'Help to Grow' initiative will be unveiled by chancellor Rishi Sunak, on Wednesday with the full support of Julian David, the CEO of techUK.

The scheme will be split into two initiatives; 'Help to Grow Digital', which supports startups with the adoption of new technologies via funding, expert advice and discounted software, and 'Help to Grow Management', which offers MBA-style training courses to increase innovation and boost growth. 

"We are particularly encouraged by the support to help SMBs with digital adoption," David said. "During the pandemic, companies able to take advantage of the latest digital technologies to adapt to social distancing restrictions were not just able to survive but to thrive, growing up to eight times faster than those who did not use digital tools.

"If delivered effectively, research has shown that support for digital adoption can help SMBs increase their revenues and productivity, and create job opportunities across the UK. techUK has long supported initiatives to support digital adoption for SMBs and this package of support could not come at a more vital time, and we and our members stand ready to help deliver this initiative."

Up to 400,000 jobs could be supported by government-funded incentives, according to research from enterprise software firm Sage. The firm's Modelling by Capital Economics report also suggests that £50 billion revenue and £21 billion in economic output could also be achieved through financial support to SMBs.

The latest budget will mark a year since the UK went into the first lockdown. The country fell into a recession, as a result, with the economy dropping more dramatically than most of its Europe counterparts. There were industry-wide calls for Sunak to support SMBs throughout the first half of 2020 with financial packages from the government finally coming over the summer. However, lessons seem to have been learned with support for SMBs coming straight away in 2021.

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