Introducing BT’s new Small Business Support Scheme

Today BT is announcing its largest ever commitment to Britain’s 5.8 million small businesses, including the 265,000 in Wales, and we’d like you to help us make businesses aware.

Their new Small Business Support Scheme outlines a range of new measures designed to boost small business confidence, connectivity and cashflow, to help kick-start recovery and growth in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The 10 initiatives have been developed to address some of the biggest pressure points being felt by small businesses, as revealed by their research with Small Business Britain. They range from funding ultrafast business connections, to launching bursaries for UK start-ups, to offering accelerated prompt payments for BT’s small business suppliers. 

BT’s Small Business Support Scheme comprises the following measures

Boosting Connectivity

  • Funding ultrafast business connections: BT will help small businesses fund the cost of an ultrafast business connection (known as an Ethernet line), by subsidising the total cost by up to £2,500 per customer. Additionally in Wales, the Welsh Government announced in June that the value of broadband vouchers for SMEs located in rural areas have been doubled to help subsidise the costs of installing gigabit-capable broadband. Vouchers worth up to £3,500 for rural SMEs have been available in Wales since May 2019. The announcement means that the maximum government funding available through each voucher is now up to £7,000 for rural SMEs.
  • Funding ultrafast business connections: BT will help small businesses fund the cost of an ultrafast business connection (known as an Ethernet line), by subsidising the total cost by up to £2,500 per customer. Additionally in Wales, the Welsh Government announced in June that the value of broadband vouchers for SMEs located in rural areas have been doubled to help subsidise the costs of installing gigabit-capable broadband. Vouchers worth up to £3,500 for rural SMEs have been available in Wales since May 2019. The announcement means that the maximum government funding available through each voucher is now up to £7,000 for rural SMEs.
  • Launching bursaries for UK tech start-ups: BT is introducing a new bursary scheme to give 1,000 UK tech start-ups and entrepreneurs a financial head start. From October, eligible companies can apply for a bursary to benefit from free fibre broadband and mobile bundles. Further details will be announced in due course.
  • Introducing BT Halo for Business: BT has launched the UK’s only converged fibre broadband, mobile and digital phone line bundle for micro-businesses, which represent 91 per cent of all businesses in the UK. By combining three powerful connections in one package, Halo helps businesses stay better connected inside and outside of the workplace, so that they never miss an important call or a sale.
  • Helping small businesses to go cashless: BT is preparing to launch a new digital payments solution, to help small businesses move to cashless transactions. This is a trend which is accelerating as a result of the pandemic, with 25 per cent of small businesses increasing their use of contactless payments over the past few months. Further details will be announced in due course.

Better Cashflow:

  • Prompt payment for BT’s small business suppliers: With 58 per cent[1] of small businesses citing cashflow as their number one concern, BT is committing to pay its 4,500 small business suppliers within 30 days of being invoiced. This sees BT halving the 60-day terms stipulated by the Government’s Prompt Payment Code.
  • Financial flexibility for the hardest hit: BT has been assisting small businesses in financial distress during the peak of the pandemic by helping them find a flexible option for paying their bill. This will continue over the coming months, with BT creating a dedicated team to support customers who are struggling with aspects of their bill as a result of the pandemic.

Building Confidence:

  • Helping small businesses access the full power of digital and social media advertising: With 63 per cent of small businesses wanting more support around marketing and sales, BT is looking to help small firms across the UK to better promote their goods and services online. More details will be revealed in due course.
  • Supporting small businesses through mentoring: BT is introducing a new mentoring scheme for small businesses, to provide them with free access to its expertise across strategy, marketing, sales, and more. BT will support businesses via Digital Boost, a free non-profit platform uniting digital experts with leaders of small businesses and charities. Further details will be announced over the coming weeks.
  • Helping small businesses acquire new digital skills: BT’s ambition is to reach 1m small business owners and their employees with digital skills by 2025, with 46 per cent expecting to increase their use of digital tools following the pandemic. BT has already helped tens of thousands of small businesses with digital skills training through its Skills for Tomorrow programme and has released new learning content on crucial topics, including how to prevent cyber-attacks and using social media to reach new customers.
  • Wellbeing support: BT is acutely aware that it’s an extremely worrying and uncertain time for small businesses, so we will be providing customers with access to expertise around maintaining their wellbeing by boosting their mental and physical health. This will be delivered through a free online toolkit and webinar series specifically designed for small businesses

Click here for more information on the support scheme.