Thursday 23 September 2021 10:25 am

Opinion-in-brief: Britain's businesses need tech to succeed

Kelly Devine is the UK President of Mastercard

For Britain’s 6 million small businesses, simply surviving these last two years has felt like winning. The challenges have been ceaseless: retaining staff, serving customers digitally, managing cash flow across multiple lockdowns. These have been heavy burdens to bear. But they have fought to keep their businesses afloat. 

Nearly two thirds watched their revenues fall in 2020, with 44 per cent cutting jobs. At the end of last year, more than half feared they might go under in 12 months. 

We’ve seen examples of exceptional adaptation: whether it’s a corner shop offering online deliveries, a gym providing online personal training, or a local pub or restaurant using QR codes for menus and orders. That confidence to use, and knowledge of, digital technology should be available to all small business owners.

Recent research with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) showed the benefits of tech would enable small businesses to help them achieve their future revenue growth – collectively estimated to tally up to £827bn over the next five years. 

It is against this backdrop that we’ve launched Strive UK – a philanthropic programme aiming to reach over half a million micro and small businesses around the country, empowering them to succeed in the digital economy through free guidance, helpful tools, and personalised, one-to-one mentoring.

Winning should mean more than just surviving; now is the time for small businesses to thrive.

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