Vodafone has teamed up with entrepreneur, and past investor on TV’s Dragons’ Den, Piers Linney to launch a new support platform for small businesses, V-Hub.
The V-Hub business support platform has been set up to help small businesses work more efficiently and work safer online. The V-Hub will offer its users an online knowledge centre as well as one-to-one support and advice from dedicated business advisers. This entire service will be free throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Vodafone created the V-Hub after conducting research and discovering that 77% of small business owners would like to make better use of digital tools to grow their business, with a further 82% feeling they need to maximise and increase their online presence. The research also found that 40% feel a lack of e-commerce knowledge has hindered their online sales during Coronavirus, and 25% worry they don’t know enough about online security threats.
The V-Hub platform has been designed so that it’s easy to use. Users simply select which online discipline they are most interested in and then they’ll be matched up with an expert adviser.
Initially, V-Hub will focus on the following areas of information and education:
How to build an online presence – including e-commerce, web design, and marketing
Staying secure online – info and advice on protecting your small business from cyber threats
Remote working – how to stay productive and manage a workforce that has had to pivot to remote working.
Vodafone will regularly update the platform with new content including episodes of its weekly podcast - Business Unusual. Hosted by Claudia Winkleman, the podcast will speak to different small business owners every week to chat about how they've dealt with the challenges and changes to business life in the wake of Covid-19.
Piers Linney, who joins the project with over 15 years’ experience in running and advising successful businesses, will be creating exclusive content for the V-Hub including his best tips and tricks for running a successful small business. Piers will also be lending his knowledge as a one-to-one business adviser for a day so small business owners can pick his brain over the phone.
Linney said: “Vodafone’s V-Hub platform is an excellent resource for any small business looking for tips and solutions to improve their digital operations. As the economy continues to steer itself through the Covid-19 crisis, businesses will be more reliant than ever on being online – many small businesses need to upskill, not just to make the most of being online, but to do it safely and securely. Digital skills in the current climate could prove essential to their survival.”
Anne Sheehan, Director, Vodafone UK, said: “It is so important to the UK that the small business community makes it through this crisis. We’ve made broadband and Microsoft 365 free for six months, and now we’re providing free access to guidance that can help businesses build their online presence, or get online for the first time. We’ve helped our customers through plenty of change over three decades at Vodafone, but never has the pace of change been so rapid and so vital to staying afloat. We are here to help you navigate these changes, and make the most of new opportunities.”
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