Virgin Media Business aims to shake up SME market with new services

Is it a taxi, is it a fish...no its the SMEcab, designed to help small and medium businesses get a better understanding of how technology can help them to overcome the seemingly impossible

Research conducted by Virgin Media Business has found that a quarter of SMEs don’t expect any growth in the next six months and that fewer than one in ten would turn to the government for help.

Amphibious cabs and broadband: A Thame-uous link

Virgin Media Business polled over 1,000 companies with between two and 250 staff to get an understanding of the challenges faced by small business. Over a quarter of the respondents said that understanding what digital technology was required at the startup stage was one of the biggest challenges they faced and over half said that getting the right business advice was a significant hurdle.

“Small and medium-sized firms should be the fuel of our economy powered by simple, flexible technology,” said Mike Smith, director, SMB at Virgin Media Business. “But we feel that industry and the Government need to look at ways it can provide more support and direct assistance to this group which is UK plc’s driving force.

“The UK’s digital economy already accounts for 8% of GDP – more than any other G20 nation – but we risk losing this competitive advantage if we fail to enable our SMEs to use technology better.”

The research was published to mark the launch of a series of new packages, designed to bolster the communications infrastructure of startups and SMEs. The fibreoptic packages range from 30mb to 152mb connections with unlimited usage. The top package will provide will offer the same upstream and downstream dedicated speed and capacity plus a six-hour Service Level Agreement (SLA).

The packages include a gateway to The Big Digital Skills Hub and The Digital Collection to give SMEs access to a community of businesses in the same position.

On a rather more gimmicky note, Virgin Media Business has launched a one-week cab service, providing free cab rides to entrepreneurs across London, Manchester, Birmingham and Sheffield. To mark the event, Virgin sent an amphibious cab cross the Thames in Richmond.

While it pains Microscope to regurgitate such cringeworthy words, the idea was to “prove that, while it cannot make you walk on water, great technology can help to cross barriers which seemed impassable.”

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