A flagship government scheme that slashes the price of software for startups has been extended to triple its reach.

The Help to Grow: Digital scheme – designed to support smaller businesses in adopting digital technologies – opened for applications in January.

Originally, businesses of 5-249 employees were eligible to receive discounts of up to £5,000 off the retail price of approved digital accounting and CRM software from leading technology suppliers. 

From today, eCommerce software has been added to the scheme, helping businesses to sell online and reach new markets, while companies with at least one employee can also apply.

This boosts the number of eligible businesses by 760,000 so that it now reaches up to 1.24 million.

In total, businesses can now access the discount on 30 software solutions from 14 leading technology suppliers for eCommerce, digital accounting and CRM software.

Additionally, the government has announced that Help to Grow: Digital will support one-to-one advice for SMEs on how best they can adopt digital technology. The government will be launching applications for advice platforms to partner with the scheme from today, and the advice service will go live later this year.

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“Boosting productivity isn’t some abstract concept to be sniffed at – for individual SMEs it means bigger sales and breaking into new markets. It can add £100 billion to the British economy overall, creating jobs and opportunity across the country,” said Business Minister Lord Callanan.

“Adopting the latest technology is proven to help businesses make the most of their potential, and by making more than one million firms eligible for the scheme, we’re helping to level up the UK economy and bolster the ability of our businesses to compete with the best worldwide.”

The Help to Grow: Digital sits alongside the Help to Grow: Management scheme as the government’s flagship programme to help small and medium-sized businesses to scale up and grow. 

Help to Grow: Management offers business leaders 50 hours of leadership and management training across 12 weeks, with the government covering 90% of the costs involved.

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