The Chancellor is to launch a £520 million initiative to support small UK businesses with training and software in this week’s Budget.
Rishi Sunak said the Help to Grow scheme could help 130,000 SMEs (small and medium enterprises) become more productive by providing access to some of the UK’s top business schools.
The Treasury said that firms will receive expert technology advice and discounted software, as it aims to spark innovation as the UK plots its recovery out of the pandemic.
Mr Sunak said: “Our brilliant SMEs are the backbone of our economy, creating jobs and generating prosperity – so it’s vital they can access the tools they need to succeed
“Help to Grow will ensure they are embracing the latest technology and management training, fuelling our Plan for Jobs by boosting productivity in all corners of the UK.”
Under the “plan for jobs”, Mr Sunak will also commit £126 million to create 40,000 additional traineeships in England and offer cash incentives for employers who take on an apprentice to £3,000 in the Budget.
The Government said that, under the new scheme, firms will have access to digital and management services.
Its digital offer will create a new online platform to offer free advice on technology that will help businesses to save time, reduce costs, and reach more customers, the Treasury said.
Eligible SMEs will also be given vouchers to get up to 50% off the purchase of new productivity-enhancing software, up to £5,000 each.