Final opportunity for businesses to purchase discounted software as Government announces early closure of Help to Grow: Digital scheme
The government recently announced that SME businesses have less than two months to apply for the Help to Grow: Digital scheme. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy revealed the programme will close to new business applications for discounts on 2nd February 2023 and all discounts issued for eligible software must be redeemed within 30 days from issue date.
The ‘Help To Grow’ campaign, which was revealed by Rishi Sunak (then Chancellor) in March 2021, was designed to give 100,000 SMEs free and impartial advice on how technology can help their business and provide vouchers worth up to £5,000 to cover up to 50% of the costs of buying pre-approved software. The Help to Grow: Digital scheme was originally promised to be in existence for three years – until 2024.
However, the DBEIS stated that: “The scheme has supported businesses to grow, but with take-up lower than expected, the government cannot justify the continued cost of the scheme to the taxpayer. The decision has been taken to refocus efforts towards other support mechanisms for small businesses, ensuring businesses get the backing they need in the most efficient and productive way possible.”
The ‘Help to Grow: Management’ scheme, however, remains in place.
Although the thought process behind the scheme was quite positive, the pre-approved software made available was, and still is, fairly limited in its scope, with a small amount of vendors supplying just CRM, digital accounting (inc. Sage, QuickBooks) and eCommerce (inc. BigCommerce, EKM) software.
Despite this, for any SMEs looking for new or alternative software to cover these areas of their business then the scheme is definitely worth looking at, especially with the 50% off (up to £5,000) in the offing. You will need to be quick though.
The criteria for any SME applying for the Help to Grow: Digital scheme is as follows:
- UK registration: Your business must be registered in the UK and be registered with either Companies House or be a registered society listed on the Financial Conduct Authority’s Mutuals Register.
- Have traded for over 12 months: Your business must have been actively trading for over 12 months prior to the date of application.
- 1 – 249 employees: Your business must have a minimum of 1 employees, but no more than 249.
- New software: Your business must be purchasing the approved software for the first time.
Small businesses who would like to know more about Help to Grow: Management and Help to Grow: Digital should visit https://helptogrow.campaign.gov.uk/.
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