Martha Lane Fox, the UK’s digital champion, has launched Go On UK to replace previous initiative Race Online 2012, intended to increase the number of people using the internet.
Since creating Race Online 2012 two years ago, two million more people have started using the internet, said Lane Fox. But according to research, just 14% of SMEs sell products and services online, while 8.2 million adults have still never used the web.
“Go On UK is a very different organisation with a broader remit to include building the capacity of organisations as well as individuals,” she said. “It will also have a more sustainable long term funding model, with Founder Partners committed to covering the core costs of Go On UK for the next three years”.
She said the UK is a world-leader in digital capability, with the internet contributing more to GDP than any other G20 county, a percentage expected to grow 11% a year to £221bn by 2016. “However, many individuals and organisations still struggle to exploit the broader benefits of technology, a problem that is particularly acute for our small businesses, older people and charities that are currently at risk of being left behind,” she said.
Small businesses that are online are set to grow twice as fast as their competitors, said Lane Fox. “Failing to act now would result in charities and small businesses operating at a significant disadvantage as the rest of the UK becomes increasingly digital,” she said.
Members of the Go On UK board include the BBC’s Director-General Mark Thompson, TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding, Age UK CEO Tom Wright, Lloyds Banking Group MD Customer Eva Eisenschimmel, and Post Office CEO Paula Vennells.