A 2019 study by the European Commission shows that less than a third of small businesses in the EC have a high degree of digitalisation, implying a large majority of small businesses lack the basic prerequisites for moving their business 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.
Digital Boost has three service offerings to help equip small businesses and charities with essential digital skills. “Boost Calls”, one-to-one mentoring sessions with digital volunteers from top technology, agency, consulting and finance firms, “Boost Workshops”, interactive, group masterclasses, run by digital experts on all digitalisation topics, as well as “Boost Skills”, useful online content on digitalisation.
Digital Boost has successfully recruited digital expert volunteers from top organisations such as BCG Digital Ventures, Google, Oxford University, McCann and Global Tech Advocates, all ready to mentor small businesses and charities.
The COVID-19 crisis has cast a painful spotlight on this lack of digitalisation of many small organisations. Being forced to shut physical locations, many small businesses and charities have no online revenue streams to fall back on. As consumers are expected to remain online post COVID-19, small businesses with a limited online presence will miss out on an ever-growing portion of business.
Digital Boost has been founded to counteract this trend. It is owned by Founders4Schools and has been built with the pro bono support of BCG Digital Ventures, a subsidiary of Boston Consulting Group.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is pleased to support Digital Boost to provide digital support for small businesses and charities in the UK that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Commenting on the launch, 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.”
Commenting on the launch of Digital Boost, Sherry Coutu CBE, Chair of Founders4Schools, comments: “In the past, many leaders of small businesses and charities have struggled with building up a significant online presence. COVID-19 has exposed this lag in digitalisation in dramatic ways. We want to help those who work in and lead small businesses & charities to survive the COVID-19 crisis and be more competitive in the long-run in today’s increasingly digital and online world.”
Ajay Chowdhury, Managing Director and Partner at BCG Digital Ventures, London adds: “There are some services out there supporting small businesses on various fronts through the COVID crisis, yet our research has shown that none of them really serve the specific needs of UK’s small businesses and charities that need quick and pragmatic help to digitalise in order to survive. That is why we founded Digital Boost. We respond to the individual needs of small businesses and charities and allocate volunteers to help them in pragmatic and quick ways.”
Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director at the CBI, comments: “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.”
Digital Boost has already supported a number of small businesses and charities, including Teens in AI, a UK-based charity, and Astrum Wine Cellars, a UK-based wine and spirit business. In the past, Astrum’s revenues were driven primarily through the hospitality industry. Faced with the COVID-19 crisis, the company was quick to shift its focus to selling direct to consumers through online channels. Digital Boost growth experts helped Astrum launch their first digital advertisements, enabling the company to stay open for business throughout COVID-19. Speaking on the impact of Digital Boost, Astrum’s Head of Growth Tom White said: “Time speaking to the Digital Boost volunteers has given us the confidence to step further into the digital world, a world that we were barely involved in 8 weeks ago. They helped us understand how to build a digital ad and gave us the tools to continue building and refining these ads for better customer acquisition”. Teens in AI, a charitable organisation focused on serving students with an interest in technology, also benefited from Digital Boost’s help by learning how to design their web-presence.
Digital Boost is ready to support hundreds of thousands more leaders on their journey towards mastering the digital tools demanded by customers in this new reality we are entering. We expect this volunteer effort from the digital community will ensure small charities & businesses help boost our economy.
Digital Boost is accepting volunteer applications and requests from small businesses and charitable organisations at www.digitalboost.org.uk and inviting other like-minded organisations from the digital community to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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