High street bank TSB has launched a nationwide programme to improve the digital expertise of small business owners.
The scheme is based on a pilot started by the bank with Enterprise Nation earlier this year to provide high street branches with digital advisers to help people grow their small businesses.
The trial initially saw advisers drafted in to four branches on a fortnightly basis, but has now been expanded to 25 sites across the country.
Small businesses and self-employed workers are in need of greater support to adapt to the digital shift in business activities, as more day-to-day tasks move online, the service providers said.
TSB and Enterprise Nation have joined forces to deliver drop-in clinics across the country, as small business owners seek more skills to drive significant growth in the near future.
Existing business banking customers at TSB will receive a “digital MOT” to determine where they need support in their business, as well as a year’s free membership to Enterprise Nation.
The programme has been introduced to target time-constrained small business owners, according to Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones.
“We realised it was not always easy for busy business owners to get this kind of support, so wanted to find a way we could make it more accessible,” she said.
“Having advisers in branches across the country will mean business customers can talk through these issues face to face to make their lives easier and make their businesses more productive.
“The key areas people wanted support was in sales and marketing, and digital accounting.”
Advisers in each branch will be able to provide advice on marketing, digital and growth strategy, with appointments available every second Tuesday of the month.
Catherine Douglas, SME banking director at TSB, said: “Digital capabilities are becoming increasingly crucial for small businesses and there are a lot of compelling reasons why firms must find the time to embrace the digital world once and for all.
“With more fundamental services like tax moving to digital submission, and an increasing portion of sales driven from online sources, acquiring digital skills is no longer a choice, but a necessity.
“Small business owners’ needs are changing, and they need a banking partner that goes beyond banking with fresh thinking that will help them start, run and grow their business.”
The scheme will run across the country in branches including Newcastle, Northampton, Perth, Cardiff, Plymouth and Cheltenham.