Better SME connectivity could contribute over £5bn a year to local UK economies
New research from Three Business has revealed that better connectivity among Manchester SMEs would contribute an extra £2.2bn a year to the local economy, with the number rising to £3.09bn for Birmingham.
The research was commissioned by Three UK and undertaken by Censuswide and Development Economics. Censuswide surveyed more than 500 senior decision-makers in SME businesses based in the UK – specifically in the regions of Birmingham and Manchester – to gauge their opinions on usage, understanding, time and monetary costs of technology in business.
For context, the majority of SME leaders in Birmingham (90%) and Manchester (82%) said that businesses are finding the current economic climate tricky to navigate and over half are frustrated with poor connectivity.
What’s more nearly half (46%) of SMEs in Birmingham also think that their business could be left behind because of it (compared to 39% across the country), and an extra 2% of SMEs located in Manchester felt the same way.
If these areas have access to better tech almost two thirds (63%) of SME leaders in Birmingham said their business could grow faster (compared to 43% across the UK) and over half (53%) of SMEs in Manchester agreed.
As it stands, both regions fear losing employees as a result of bad connectivity.
The SMEs in Birmingham and Manchester businesses also identified where they would like extra support.
Almost two-thirds (62%) of Birmingham SMEs felt that better connectivity would ease some of the financial pressures they are facing, with 56% of Manchester SMEs agreeing.
Some 54% and 46% of Birmingham and Manchester SMEs respectively said they would welcome connectivity grants as well as guidance on how to get the most out of their connectivity, while 42% of Birmingham businesses said they would like support paying bills, rising to 48% of Manchester businesses.
Looking to respond to the needs of companies, Three Business has announced a new grant scheme worth £300,000 for SMEs across both regions. Businesses can apply to receive one of several 5G Business SIM packages, as well as 5G Business Broadband for two years.
“Businesses frequently tell us that great connectivity is one of the biggest enablers of growth, impacting all aspects of running their business – from the experience they can provide to their customers to how happy their employees are and how well they can carry out their jobs,” said Snehal Bhudia, director of business propositions and go to market at Three Business.
“That’s why we’re providing connectivity grants to businesses in Birmingham, so they can focus on doing what they do best and contribute to their local economies.”
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