Free broadband is now available as part of a wide-ranging bursary scheme launched by BT to assist the small businesses in the UK

 

TO help the UK’s 5.8m small businesses get better equipped for recovery and growth following the coronavirus pandemic – and as they prepare for a post-Brexit future – BT’s small business support scheme will give a welcome boost.

It has launched a tech bursaries programme offering 1,000 UK start-ups six months’ free fibre broadband, digital phone line and mobile bundles. 

The bursary scheme aims to ease some of the financial pressures facing start-ups. To apply, visit www.bt.com/tech-bursary 

The bursary includes Halo for business –a converged connectivity plan which gives micro-businesses three powerful connections in one. 

The bursary scheme was recently launched as part of BT’s pledge to support start-ups by giving them a financial head start. 

The bundles will be provided completely free of charge for the first six months on a 24-month contract. 

The new support package – praised by business groups and senior politicians around the country – consists of ten initiatives focused on enhancing connectivity, cash flow and confidence of the country's small businesses. 

This includes improving access to high-speed connections and the launch of BT’s Halo for business product – a central part of the scheme. 

HeraldScotland:

Robbie Bellshaw, IT Manager, HWEnergy, Biomass solution company, Fort William in Scotland, said: “The few months during lockdown were very difficult for Scottish businesses. It meant a need to adapt so that employees can work remotely, including from home. 

“We were supported to setup the BT One Phone service so that our customers, who wanted to reach our teams all over the UK, could get through on the landline numbers they already had, including for teams who didn’t previously have a mobile phone. These are all little things that can help make a difference to small businesses during this tricky time.” 

Alan Lees, director of BT’s Enterprise unit in Scotland, said:“BT has a proud history of backing the UK start-up sector and we want to do our bit by easing the financial burden on these fledgling companies by giving 1,000 of them free high-speed connectivity for the first six months. 

“It’s just one example of how our Small Business Support scheme is helping start-ups, sole traders, micro businesses and more established firms to bounce back – from faster connections and digital payments to support around mentoring, digital skills and marketing tools.” 

HeraldScotland:

Start-ups can choose from a range of bundles under the bursary scheme, starting from £34.95 (excluding VAT) per month after the first 6 months. 

To qualify for BT’s new bursary scheme, customers will need to have set up their company after 1 October, 2019 and they’ll need to be taking a BT business broadband service for the first time.

BT’s customer service team will contact applicants the next working day to talk them through the best bundled broadband, digital phone line and mobile option to suit their needs. 

Eligible companies can apply for a bursary from today by visiting: www.bt.com/tech-bursary While the bursary will be made available to 1,000 eligible companies initially, BT will be closely monitoring interest in the scheme and will consider extending it to more UK start-up companies, subject to future demand. 

BT’s action plan, including the bursary scheme, incorporates a commitment to pay its 4,500 small business suppliers promptly and within 30 days of being invoiced, helping firms fund the cost of ultrafast business connections, as well as access to free resources such as business mentoring, digital skills, digital marketing tools and mental health support.

TOOLKIT TO SUPPORT STAFF
Recent research conducted by BT with Small Business Britain found that 20% of small businesses felt they needed mental health support. 

The disruption from the pandemic has left many small businesses and employees struggling emotionally, as well as financially. 

As a result, BT’s Wellbeing Toolkit at www.bt.com/tech-bursary a newly launched guide to help SMEs look after their own and their staff’s wellbeing. 

Michelle Ovens MBE, Founder of Small Business Britain, said: “Small businesses across the UK have been central to getting the country through this pandemic, and the fact that over two thirds are feeling increasing recognition and affection from the public is testament to this. 

“However, our data clearly shows just how tough it is out there for small businesses and it’s really important that we continue to support them through the turbulence ahead."