Over the last few weeks the Association of Business Mentors has been speaking with government about its members experiences and views on the impact of COVID-19 on the business community and outlined a number of recommendations for government intervention to help businesses through the pandemic.
This week, ABM Chair Simon Fordham, was also pleased to join a small group of leading business organisations in a virtual meeting held by the Minister for Small Business, Paul Scully MP to discuss further developments. The topic discussed was the digital infrastructure and emerging landscape of change in this important area of what is now becoming the norm in business rather than the often proposed alternative of virtually meeting.
It’s very apparent the Government are indeed listening and want to help in these very challenging times, but they also acknowledge there is more to do. Simon and the group discussed much around the future of the digital landscape and how this may be improved over the coming months once we are through this. Some key points discussed included:
- Improving broadband and super broadband connectivity in rural community.
- Broadband providers adopting new working practices to enable them to respond to upgrade and service requests more quickly.
- Mobile providers charging for call diverts from company to private number.
- A promotion/campaign to highlight the need to move from closed stand alone systems to more cloud base system.
- The creation of a digital skills partnership between commercial organisations and government to upskill the nations Solo, Micro and SMEs.
- Grants for the advancement and take-up of IT usage in small businesses.
- Digital inclusion for business owners and team members with disabilities
- Data protection, security and confidentiality challenges with employees using their own digital devices for work purpose.
A number of wider business challenges were also raised by Simon and the other representatives, including:
1. The SEIS scheme needs to be increased from £150,000 to £250,000 to enable those on the scheme to near their limit to receive extra funding/investment, this is vital to ensure such start-ups have a chance of surviving the next 6 – 12 month.
2. Large corporations must pay for goods and services quicker, releasing vital cash to small business suppliers.
3. Once through this, consider legislation that makes large corporations pay in 30 days, as many still insist on 90 or more in some cases.
With government listening, it is vital business owners feedback any and all challenges they are currently facing and what is needed in the months ahead.
We urge you to let us know of such issues so that the Association of Business Mentors can continue to support its members and the wider business community through the challenging times we are experiencing.
Thank to those who have already sent us their views via [email protected]