Features | 07 Feb 2022

How Samsung wants to ‘learn from small businesses’

Samsung Electronics UK has joined Vodafone’s business.connected program as “exclusive smartphone partner”. We caught up with the global consumer tech company to find out why.

“Samsung and Vodafone have long enjoyed a great partnership,” explains Dan Cull, Samsung’s Head of Network Operators, “and we’re really looking forward to developing that relationship further to help small businesses gain the digital skills they need.”

Small businesses have been through a tough time over the last 18 months, comments Dan. The pandemic has meted out an economic pummelling to many. They’ve also had other distractions to deal with, such as Brexit, tax changes, and the rapid shift in consumer behaviour as people work and shop from home.

This has meant accelerating digitalisation plans and quickly adjusting to operating online, managing staff remotely, and keeping their businesses safe from opportunistic cyber-attackers.

“It’s almost become the survival of the fittest out there,” suggests Dan.

So there is a huge need that Vodafone and Samsung, working together with business.connected partner, Enterprise Nation, can help to address, he says.

“Samsung has a wealth of in-house digital experts with many years of experience in optimising digital marketing performance. We’re here to help, but we’re also here to learn.”

It’s a point emphasised by Deborah Hayes, Samsung’s Head of Business Marketing.

“None of us really knows what it’s like to run a small business – the practical challenges they’re facing or have faced over the last two years,” she says.

“So we’re really looking forward to hearing about – and learning from – their experiences so we can package our products and services together in a way that fulfils their needs.

“Small businesses are at the heart of what we do here at Samsung, but we know that no two are the same, so a one-size-fits all approach won’t work. We need to listen and learn.”

Digital skills

Samsung says it offers a suite of hardware and software products aimed at enabling small businesses to improve performance, strengthen security and stay connected. But many small firms need a bit of help to polish up their digital skills so that they can make the most of these technologies, Deborah believes.

“This is why we want to work with them and support them in their journey, and we plan to do this with our partnership with Vodafone.

“We want to demonstrate our commitment to small businesses and be their partner during these turbulent times, helping them weather this storm and thrive.”

While a one-size-fits-all approach may not work, says Deborah, the business.connected initiative does provide a very useful one-stop-shop for time-poor, busy businesses.

Launched in May 2021, business.connected provides free, expert, digital training to small businesses to help them adopt technology, boost digital skills and stay safe online. The initiative aims to equip up to 150,000 UK small businesses with digital skills by mid-2022.

Business people can access the courses using the Vodafone V-Hub, which cover everything from setting up a business online to digital marketing, cybersecurity to device management.

In November 2021, Vodafone unveiled Dragons’ Den investor Steven Bartlett as a business.connected ambassador.

To date, more than 65,000 SME businesses across the UK have taken up the free business.connected e-learning courses – with courses on digital marketing and boosting productivity proving to be the most popular.

Samsung is hoping this new partnership with Vodafone is just “the start of our journey”, says Dan.

“There’s much more to come and it’s really exciting.”

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