Google, Sage, and Cisco among big tech backers for new SMB innovation hub | ITPro

Google, Sage, and Cisco among big tech backers for new SMB innovation hub | ITPro

Four tech giants have pledged their support for a new UK-based technology hub aimed at supporting small business innovation and digital transformation.  

Google, Vodafone, Cisco, and Sage have committed to supporting the new ‘Tech Hub’, run by Enterprise Nation. The scheme aims to provide small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) with a “one-stop-shop” online platform to drive digital adoption

The platform will include advice on how to identify what technologies, such as artificial intelligence or data analytics, will deliver maximum impact and benefits for their individual needs. 

The hub will also provide “signposting” for SMB leaders on how to integrate new tools within their processes to streamline digital adoption. 

Emma Jones CBE, founder and CEO of Enterprise Nation, said the launch comes in direct response to the traditionally slow nature of digital transformation among small businesses across the country.

The UK currently boasts more than 5.6 million SMBs. However, research from Enterprise Nation found that while one-quarter (25%) of SMBs are investing in technology, many aren’t maximizing the use of these tools due to lack of knowledge and training.

The research also found the experience of wasting resources left businesses feeling short changed at a time of challenging economic conditions and stretched budgets. 

With many SMBs struggling to adapt to an increasingly digitized world and marketplace, there is a risk that the UK’s small business sector could fall behind their global counterparts and negatively impact economic output.

“We are falling behind,” said Jones. “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?”

Somebody wearing sunglasses staring at bright lights to depict innovation

“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 revolutionize tech adoption. 

Research from Sage, one of the key backers of the scheme, found that accelerated digital transformation among small businesses could unlock £232 billion for the UK economy in the coming years. 

Paul Struthers, managing director for Sage UKI, said support for SMBs will be critical to unlocking this economic growth and driving innovation across the country. 

“The digital economy is the key growth sector and will help to deliver a new generation of enterprise, tech startups and innovation,” he said. 

“We therefore need to empower small and mid-sized businesses to embrace digitalization 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.” 

As part of the launch, the group plans to launch a new ‘Tech Consortium’ which will see policy leads from major tech brands collaborate on how to accelerate SMB digital adoption and drive success. 

Paul Scully, secretary of state for technology and the digital economy, welcomed the announcement as a positive step toward driving SMB digital transformation.

“It’s clear that businesses thrive when they truly embrace the benefits of digital technology and embed it into their operations,” he said. 

“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.”