Date: 22nd May 2020
The recent COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant impact on SMEs and as a consequence of the pandemic, many businesses are now having to operate very differently. The ability to work remotely from home has become a necessity for many organisations, whilst others are looking at how they can adapt to ensure not just their survival, but also their future prosperity once the current crisis is over.
Here at Digital Enterprise, we have spent the last three years providing funding and training for businesses so they can improve their digital capabilities and grow. However, current circumstances have meant we are re-evaluating how we can help. We are asking ourselves if the support we currently offer is suitable for the times, and if not, what we can do to provide businesses with the help they really need.
To do this effectively, we needed to get the views of businesses from across the whole Leeds City Region, and in March we launched a survey to determine how businesses had been affected by the pandemic and whether they felt they had the required technology to continue to operate in these difficult times. The findings of the report would shape how our programme responds to the needs of businesses, both now and in the future – especially over the period in which we head towards economic recovery.
Over 3,200 previous and current Digital Enterprise customers were emailed inviting them to take part. We also promoted the survey via social media in order to increase participation from businesses not currently or previously involved in the programme. The results of which can be found at https://www.digitalenterprise.co.uk/covid-19-survey.pdf
We understand that times are tough right now and business support programmes like Digital Enterprise, need to respond quickly to crises like the one we currently face. As such, we are doing all we can to ensure we can help businesses as quickly as possible.
The findings are already being incorporated into our programme of webinars so we can focus on the topics that are important to you. We are also busy devising new funding support – in particular the introduction of a new voucher which can be used by businesses to guarantee they are able to continue to operate not just now, but also in the future, if another crisis should occur.
Our team has also temporarily expanded so that we can respond to businesses faster. For instance, we are accelerating our Digital Growth Voucher funding programme so that businesses can access the help they need more quickly.
We understand that at this difficult time, you do not always want to communicate by email and may want to speak to someone directly. To ensure you are able to do this we have launched our Digital Enterprise telephone helpline which can be contacted by calling 0113 426 0535.
We will continue to use the results from our survey to ensure our programme is providing the support that businesses so desperately need.
We would like to wish you all the best and stay safe.