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E-Business scheme will help 4,500 SMEs join the digital world

A new programme which will support 4,500 small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in Local London to capitalise on emerging digital and e-commerce technologies and enable their long-term growth has been launched.

The Local London ‘E-business for growth’ programme will invest £10 million over three years and is available to SMEs free-of-charge.

E-business enjoyed a boom during the pandemic, but many smaller businesses lack the time or knowledge to capitalise. The programme will support them with bespoke guidance on key aspects of online business, including digital tendering, digital inventory and stock control, digital finance, digital sales and marketing, digital trading, cyber security, e-commerce and more.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council and Chair of Local London said “SMEs are the beating heart of our economy in Local London. It’s important that we invest in them and support their recovery and growth by providing relevant help.

“Where local businesses thrive, there is a direct benefit to the well-being of our communities through jobs which are safeguarded, new jobs that are created, increased business productivity and local economic growth. We are ambitious for our sub-region, and the E-business programme is one of the ways in which we are supporting our local communities to thrive. We’re really excited to launch it.”

The e-business programme is Local London’s first programme for small businesses, and over the three years of the programme will provide:

  • Support for 4,500 small businesses, 563 per borough
  • 8,348 days of training for SME staff, 2,134 per borough
  • We estimate that 825 new jobs will be created as a result of the programme, 104 per borough
  • We estimate that up to 7,500 existing jobs will be safeguarded, 938 per borough

Local London has appointed three expert providers to deliver the programme. Each will work with businesses in a specific number of boroughs.

The content is based on a successful programme delivered by South East Enterprise in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The programme will be open to any SME businesses in Local London boroughs that have been trading for at least 6 months. The e-business programme provides:

  • In depth, tailored one to one business support that focuses on upskilling local business owners for the digital environment
  • Supported by a programme of complimentary workshops for SME owners and staff

Our delivery partners will work proactively to engage businesses in our local areas with the programme.

Our delivery partners are:

  • Enterprise Enfield will deliver the programme to businesses in Enfield, Redbridge and Waltham Forest.
  • Newham College will deliver the programme to businesses in Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Newham.
  • South East Enterprise will deliver the programme to businesses in Bexley and Greenwich.

Half of the funding for the programme has come from the London Business Rates Pool, with the remainder match-funded by boroughs in the Local London partnership.

Despina Johnson, CEO of Enterprise Enfield said “Enterprise Enfield is delighted to have been selected as a delivery partner for the new e-business programme – providing vital support to SME businesses in our region: Enfield, Waltham Forest and Redbridge. Many businesses want to make better use of technology to reach new customers and to enhance their efficiency and performance, but just don’t know where to start or where to go for the right advice. We are looking forward to empowering owners and their employees with the expert advice, guidance and hands-on training and support they need to get to grips with digital skills, stay competitive and grow their businesses successfully.”

Tony Goldstein, MD of South East Enterprise said “This free programme has been a huge benefit to small businesses that have been affected by the pandemic. Adopting these digital practices is a good way for businesses in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the London Borough of Bexley to improve their resilience and recover faster.”

Paul Stephen, Principal and Chief Executive, Newham College said “Newham College London, has been supporting business growth in local London SMEs for many years, and we are excited to be part of this new phase of development. With our successful experience of programme delivery we will tailor support that is flexible and responsive to help businesses improve their knowledge, skills and use of emerging digital and e-commerce technologies.”

For more information please contact ebusiness.support@redbridge.gov.uk


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