The waves of lockdowns have meant that most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have needed to review the way they work and communicate with both their customers and clients. As a result, we have all discovered how previously niche communication platforms, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, can help us communicate while being locked inside our own homes, which are progressively becoming our offices. This presents new challenges concerning shared workspaces, bandwidth and childcare.
The coronavirus pandemic has, of course, brought immeasurable challenges to businesses, especially smaller ones. Yet the resultant economic slowdown has given owner-managers headspace to think critically about their business’s operations and future strategy, and what business support is on offer. For example, you may be considering whether your business is operating as productively as possible.
Help for your business
Is there a better way of organising your activities and working with the data within the business? Can Futures by Design (FBD), a project based on helping SMEs improving their data skills and literacy, help you in your business?
Futures by Design is a fully funded European Interreg project, working with SMEs in partner regions in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom. In Cambridge, the project is led by Anglia Ruskin University.
SMEs are critical to regional economies. However, insufficient access to data and the inability to analyse data to drive innovation and improve results can limit their capacity for success.
The aims of the project are to:
- support SMEs to become more data-driven and better informed about the economic, technological, policy and supply changes that will shape their futures;
- enable SMEs to innovate, grow, or increase productivity;
- strengthen those SMEs and foster innovation in the partner regions.
FBD will also create a virtual transnational horizon-scanning and knowledge transfer (HSKT) hub. This will connect six hubs in the partner regions to support sustainable SME growth, innovation and productivity.
FBD will work with 50+ SMEs in each partner region. It will offer them access to a bank of tools and advice on data analysis, as well as support from the teams in each region.
Open to all SMEs in Cambridgeshire
From sole trader upwards, the programme is open to any SME within Cambridgeshire which can benefit. Experience within the programme has shown that early-stage businesses benefit by ensuring that the business starts with the correct systems. Also, businesses moving to the next stage of their development can, through our assistance, benefit from increased productivity and revenues.
After free registration, a member of the team will contact the company. They will take them through an initial simple self-evaluation questionnaire, focussing on how the business works now. This will help to assess data maturity and how the business could benefit from the available FBD data tools. Data tools have been developed specifically for the project, and FBD will also ensure that the business is making the best use of standard and sector-specific computer software.
Work with the SMEs on how to use tools will be both through webinars and 1:1 support.
The project is fully funded, so there is no financial contribution required from the business. The project is open to 50 businesses within Cambridgeshire. Spaces are limited, so please get in contact asap at the email address below.
More details are available at www.futuresbydesign.net
SMEs Interested in becoming involved with this project can register by contacting as at firstname.lastname@example.org