Levelling up: Small businesses use technology to overcome challenges
Research by the Resolution Foundation found that the government’s plans to level up cities around the UK will cost billions more than originally thought, with the think tank stating that the ‘levelling up’ agenda will require investment that goes ‘far beyond anything currently being contemplated’ by the government.
In 2019, a pledge to ‘level up’ the nation was made, providing people, communities and businesses with a fair chance of being equal economically. The agenda aims to address the disparity in employment rates, pay, health, productivity and formal education between regions across the UK and was welcomed by towns and cities in the UK that felt they had been ‘left behind‘ previously. Unfortunately, there is uncertainty surrounding the levelling up agenda due to the increased amount of funding needed. Despite these challenges, small businesses are adapting their business practices to continue to thrive regardless of the levelling up agenda.
In a world where digitisation dominates, small businesses have adopted technology to overcome this year’s challenges, with a study from Open Access Government finding that half of UK small businesses report cost savings or increased profit from using the right technology. Adding to this, over half of UK small businesses agree that technology will become more important for them over the next five years as nearly 4 in 10 businesses want to use more digital tools in their business. By adapting to challenges through the seamless integration of technology, small businesses can continue to offset the obstacles presented by the levelling up strategy.
Another key component that is necessary for small businesses to thrive despite the delayed levelling up agenda is to receive vital support from investors and the public. A study from IW Capital found that 58% of Brits plan to shop more at their local high street this year. This provides SMEs such as Ubamarket, one of our portfolio companies that supplies supermarkets with sophisticated retail technology, a platform to thrive. Will Broome, CEO of Ubamarket, states that ‘retail technology is the future’ and their revolutionary omni-channel Scan, Pay, Go app is available in stores across the UK and Ireland. SMEs continue to be vital for the growth of the UK business landscape, accounting for 99.9% of the UK business population, three-fifths of employment and nearly half of turnover in the UK private sector.