Introducing: the Virgin Digital Skills Hub

How do you feel about the fact that almost a third of the UK’s small businesses don’t even have a website? Well, that’s what a recent study of 1000 SMBs from Virgin Media Business found out.

If you’re anything like us, hearing a figure like that is a shock. In such a connected world – and one where often the emphasis is on learning how to switch off, not on - it’s easy for those less tech-savvy to fall through the cracks. But knowing how to use digital, even at a basic level, is crucial to business success.

There were further statistics backing up this gap in the skills of business owners, such as 49% of the UK’s SMBs admitting they don’t attract business through their website. This is potentially costing the economy billions of pounds in lost growth – not to mention hindering the ability of small businesses to reach their full potential. Yet using digital tools to improve performance by just 1% would create an additional £3.8bn in revenue. It’s time for the UK business scene to take action.

As Sir Richard Branson himself puts it, “We are living in an increasingly connected world and wherever we go access to the internet is just a touch away through a smartphone or tablet. The way we do business has been transformed and trade online is growing at around 20% a year, so it’s now not just a case of making the most of an opportunity for your business:  it is crucial for business survival.  At Virgin we have embraced new digital technologies and it has transformed the way we do business and how we engage with customers.”

Introducing Virgin Media Business’s new initiative aimed at addressing this issue and giving every SMB the opportunity to brush up on their digital literacy: The Big Digital Skills Hub. A fully mobile-optimised website chock full of advice, video tutorial, downloadable resources and interactive quizzes, it’s a place where every small business owner can come to learn about digital literacy – whether they’re starting from scratch, or just want to brush up.

Fronted by Sir Richard Branson, the hub offers 15 tutorials of digital information from leading industry experts, from setting up a website to supercharging your social media strategy – especially relevant considering the study found that 34% of the UK’s SMBs admitted to not having any business-relevant social media skills. And the bite-sized, pick ’n’ mix format means there’s no difficulty in fitting it around your busy schedule. 

Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey clearly approves, commenting “Encouraging as many people as possible to get online and get the most out of the internet is vitally important in the digital world we live in. Research shows that companies that embrace technology will grow faster, export and create more jobs. Virgin Media Businness’s commitment to improving the nation’s digital skills, alongside learning tools such as the Big Digital Skills Hub, will help businesses build their confidence in using the internet, and are a step in the right direction.”

We’re super proud of our commitment to supporting growing SMEs – not just across Virgin StartUp and Pioneers (who’ll also be contributing expert advice to the hub), but across the entirety of the company. And now we’re determined to boost the digital skills of those who need it most, empowering small companies to go on to bigger and better things. We’re so determined, in fact, that through October Virgin Media Business will be taking The Big Digital Skills Hub on tour throughout the UK, allowing businesses in Glasgow, Cardiff, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle to get face-to-face advice on improving their digital skills. So what are you waiting for? Get online, dip into these resources now available to you, and go digital!

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons