The bigger picture

Accelerating recovery through V-Hub

Recognising the need to take urgent action to help get small to medium-sized businesses back on their feet post-COVID-19, Vodafone stepped up to the plate…

No business is immune to the effects of the pandemic, but small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are particularly susceptible, lacking the resources of their larger counterparts – and they are being hit much harder. In Europe, around half are predicting lower profits this year compared to just over a third of their bigger rivals, according to recent Vodafone research. This threatens the future of many SMEs, which is a disaster for their hard-working, dedicated owners and employees, but also for national economies. That’s because they create around 85% of new jobs and provide 66% of total private sector employment, while contributing trillions of euros to countries across the UK and Europe (EU 2020). With the pandemic still raging across the globe, Vodafone saw the urgent need to support SMEs to help them grow their profits and accelerate the recovery process. Further research drilled down into the support business owners thought they needed right now, giving valuable insight into where help should come from. It revealed that:

  • 77% need to make better use of digital tools to grow their business
  • 82% need to expand their presence online
  • 40% felt a lack of online sales was holding them back
  • 25% didn’t know enough about cyber security

Answering the call, V-Hub was launched, a business support platform offering key guidance to give SMEs a digital booster.

One-to-one help

V-Hub connects SMEs directly to their own dedicated expert business adviser, who offers help tailored to their specific challenges. It also provides online guides, videos and webinars via an online knowledge centre. Vodafone partners and industry leaders across the UK quickly came on board, donating their time and expertise to ensure SMEs get the help they need. Successful entrepreneur and former Dragon’s Den investor Piers Linney has also teamed up with V-Hub to deliver a personal one-to-one guidance service.

“SMEs are the lifeblood of economies across Europe, and it’s crucial that they are given all of the assistance they need to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Vodafone Business CEO Vinod Kumar. “The past few months have shown that companies that invest in digital services have weathered the storm better by using technology to quickly adapt the way they work. We want to help those now looking to use digital technologies and ensure that they are on the right track to thrive.” Commenting on the challenge facing SMEs, Linney added: “As the economy continues to steer itself through the COVID-19 crisis, businesses will be more reliant than ever on being online. Many small businesses need to upskill, not just to make the most of being online, but to do it safely and securely. Digital skills in the current climate could prove essential to their survival. V-Hub is an excellent resource for any small business looking for tips and solutions to improve their digital operations.”

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Getting started

The platform is simple to navigate, with users selecting the online discipline they are keen to focus on, after which they are matched to an adviser. Help is provided for the following areas:

Building an online presence Including web design, selling online and marketing. All are essential to surviving the Covid-19 crisis.

Online security Helping to protect small businesses from the massive rise in cyber-attacks since the Covid-19 crisis began.

Remote working Something that has quickly become a necessity, raising challenges around wellbeing, productivity, satisfaction and security.

New and insightful content is regularly added to the platform, including episodes of Vodafone’s new weekly podcast, Business Unusual, designed to offer key guidance to SMEs. Each week, Claudia Winkleman will interview a different business owner to discuss their approach to dealing with changes and challenges, before and during the Covid-19 crisis.