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Small businesses to receive £520m Help to Grow fund for new tech and management training

Ben Chapman
·2-min read
<p>Rishi Sunak is hoping for a productivity boost as UK tries to recover from Covid-19 </p> (Yui Mok/PA)

Rishi Sunak is hoping for a productivity boost as UK tries to recover from Covid-19

(Yui Mok/PA)

Small firms are to be given funding to access some of the UK’s business schools under plans to be unveiled in this week’s Budget.

Rishi Sunak is to launch a £520m Help to Grow scheme, aimed at making smaller companies more productive.

Up to 130,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will receive management training and expert advice on technology from leading business schools, the Treasury says.

It is hoped the initiative will promote innovation and aid the UK’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The chancellor said: “Our brilliant SMEs are the backbone of our economy, creating jobs and generating prosperity, so it’s vital they can access the tools they need to succeed.

“Help to Grow will ensure they are embracing the latest technology and management training, fuelling our plan for jobs by boosting productivity in all corners of the UK.”

Companies will have access to free online advice to improve their digital capabilities and can apply for vouchers worth up to £5,000 to buy government-approved software with a 50 per cent discount.

Business schools will offer 50 hours of tuition with one-to-one support from a business mentor.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “The announcement of this new scheme to help with growth and innovation will be welcomed by many firms across the country.

“Projects like this really make a difference for small firms who are wanting to change the way they operate and expand their horizons, as well as strengthen the economy for all.”

He also called for better access to high-speed internet connections.

“Crucially with all digital schemes, it is a reminder that for many, access to fast high-speed broadband remains a premium, depending where you go in the country.

"We cannot allow poor infrastructure through a lack of broadband or 5G to prevent small firms from getting a foothold onto important schemes like this.”

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