30/05/2003

Online resource for small firms promises better business

The Small Business Service (SBS) has launched a new website providing small and medium sized firms with a wealth of practical support and best practice information.

The CONNECT (a Business Link national service) website, at www.connectbestpractice.com, builds on the success of CONNECT events and support programmes and gives small firms access to 'real-life' documentary video case studies, an extensive resource library and clear self-assessment to help them boost profits, productivity and performance.

Chief Executive of the SBS, Martin Wyn Griffith said: "CONNECT really does help SMEs. Last year we undertook an independent survey of companies who attended CONNECT presentations and the results were fantastic. Companies reported average increases in profits of £670,000 and increases in sales of over £4 million. Bringing CONNECT online will bring increased productivity and profits for UK SMEs."

Last year, of the 16,000 plus businesses who saw a CONNECT module, 78% reported a positive impact on their business. Now, thanks to technology from broadcast and streaming specialists twofourtv, web users can freely view over 150 of the best practice case studies and interviews.

David Clarke at twofourtv said: "We are very pleased that such an extensive video archive, with such relevance to the business community, is now available to all with access to the internet. It is the first time any government department has committed to streaming and it proves that streaming media is a viable method of distributing content using narrowband technology."

Richard Adlington at Redwaters, who manages delivery of the CONNECT Programme added: " The site has made CONNECT accessible to all, and the partnership with twofourtv to stream the videos has provided a tremendous online resource that will be the cornerstone for the whole CONNECT programme."

The website is a first for Government as it is the only portal dedicated to streaming media content in Whitehall.

Online videos are available that cover every area of business - from leadership and accessing finance to health and safety and marketing - help firms to adopt best practice and undertake change to make them more successful.

The resource is also a boon for business advisers who report that CONNECT saves them the cost of having to buy in resources – estimated at an average saving of over £550,000.

The site also provides advisers with marketing and event support and lets them concentrate on what they do best - communicating with small firms.

(SP)

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