Money is now available to help small businesses in England boost their productivity and performance.
The newly-launched Business Basics Fund will provide a total of £8 million to projects that enable small firms to adopt tried and tested technologies and management techniques.
Charities, trade bodies, public sector organisations and others are invited to bid for funding from an initial tranche of £2 million.
According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) the initiative will help small businesses unlock £100 billion of untapped benefit to the UK economy.
The premise behind the Fund is that, by exploring technologies, management practices and business support services they would not otherwise have tried, businesses will adopt approaches that will make them more efficient, such as cloud computing, e-purchasing and mobile technology.
Research on which that premise rests was conducted by the CBI, whose UK Chief Policy Director, Matthew Fell, said that low uptake of the nuts and bolts technologies of today is a key feature of the productivity puzzle that can, and must, be tackled.
Although UK business technology adoption levels are close to the EU average, they are far behind the front runners and lag nearly a decade behind Denmark, he added.
Where can I apply?
The Business Basics Fund is run by BEIS in partnership with Innovate UK. Details of the funding available and the application process for the first phase are available from the Innovation Funding Service at https://bit.ly/2K9VvCW.
Projects receiving funding will be evaluated to determine their effectiveness in boosting productivity. The deadline for applications is 4 September 2018.