Digital academy debuts, aiming to help 10,000 Scots companies

A digital academy has launched today, committed to helping more than 10,000 Scottish businesses with their online skills.

Bank of Scotland is behind the initiative, which is also targeted at individuals and charities. It aims to help users build a wide range of skills, from improving confidence online to developing a website for your business, managing your money and staying connected with friends and family.

The academy includes access to online events for small businesses and charities to network virtually and hear from expert speakers, and comes amid Bank of Scotland’s latest research, which revealed that a third of people said they would improve their digital skills if they knew support was available.

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The initiative aims to help people, businesses and charities across Scotland boost their essential skills (file image). Picture: Getty Images.

Additionally, almost two thirds of those surveyed are spending more time online, but almost a fifth are concerned that their digital skills still aren’t good enough.

Philip Grant, chair of Lloyds Banking Group's Scottish executive committee, said: “Being online has become part of everyday life for many more people and creating the Bank of Scotland Academy is all about helping people build the right digital skills.

“For small businesses, digital confidence and capability have been crucially important. In the last year, 44 per cent of small Scottish businesses wouldn’t have continued trading without digital facilities.

“Having the right digital skills means that people can stay connected with loved ones, businesses can run more efficiently, and charities can raise more funds by reaching more people.”

Philip Grant, chair of Lloyds Banking Group's Scottish executive committee, hails the new academy. Picture: contributed.

Meanwhile, today also sees the publication of the latest small business equity tracker from the British Business Bank (BBB), revealing that the burgeoning tech sector accounted for 44 per cent of equity investment in Scotland’s small businesses last year.

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Smaller companies in Scotland saw a total of £284m in equity deals in 2020, while the number of transactions in the tech sector grew by 16 per cent, exceeding the UK’s 12 per cent increase.

Mark Sterritt, UK network director of evolved nations at the BBB, said: “Last year saw a record number of small businesses receiving equity investment in Scotland, placing the country ahead of other parts of the UK with the exception of London. Our analysis suggests this has continued on into 2021, as the Scottish economy recovers and investor confidence returns."

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