Press Release | 08 Aug 2022

Vodafone and Enterprise Nation commit to upskill digital capabilities of 800,000 UK SMEs over next three years

To date, over 100,000 SMEs have benefited from the business.connected initiative and the range of free business courses it provides.

  • Vodafone’s business.connected initiative in partnership with Enterprise Nation, Samsung and Cisco has now been extended for a further three years with a new commitment to upskill 800,000 SMEs within that time.
  • To date, over 100,000 SMEs have benefited from the business.connected initiative and the range of free business courses it provides.
  • connected extends partnerships with the addition of Sage and Zym who join existing partners Cisco and Samsung.
  • Small Business Minister Jane Hunt MP emphasised her support for the initiative by commenting “Small businesses are at the forefront of British enterprise and this scheme from Vodafone shows the power the private sector can have to help many achieve new levels of innovation and success.”
  • There are hundreds of free digital business courses available through business.connected with learning curriculums provided by Enterprise Nation, Samsung, Cisco, Sage and Zym.

Following positive feedback from small and medium businesses across the UK, Vodafone has announced the extension of its business.connected initiative for a further three years, pledging to upskill the digital capabilities of 800,000 small businesses within that time.

Launched in May 2021 and open to all UK small and medium-sized businesses with
between 0 – 250 employees, the business.connected initiative was set up to help SMEs adopt new technology, boost digital skills and stay safe online.

Operated alongside partners Enterprise Nation, Samsung and Cisco, more than 100,000 small businesses have already benefited from the business.connected programme. It delivers free online courses covering everything from managing an online business to digital marketing and cybersecurity. The new commitment of supporting 800,000 small businesses over three years will ensure even more SMEs get the help and guidance they need to navigate a challenging economy.

To help reach its target, the business.connected curriculum is also set to be extended with the addition of Sage, the leader in accounting, financial, HR and payroll, and small business marketing specialists Zym as partners. Sage’s curriculum will focus on accounting and finance, while Zym will provide marketing and sales CRM focused courses.

Small Business Minister Jane Hunt MP said: “Small businesses are at the forefront of British enterprise and this scheme from Vodafone shows the power the private sector can have to help many achieve new levels of innovation and success.

“The business.connected scheme complements a range of government support on offer, such as our Help to Grow: Digital initiative, equipping small businesses across the country with the essential tools they need to boost productivity and grow.”

Andrew Stevens, Head of UK Small and Medium Business, Vodafone said: “We are delighted to further our support and commitment to SMEs through the extension of the business.connected programme for a further three years. The initiative has already helped over 115,000 SMEs upgrade their digital capabilities. And with growing uncertainty in the economy and rises in the cost of living – alongside our partners Enterprise Nation, Cisco, Samsung, Sage and Zym; we look forward to upskilling the digital proficiencies of 800,000 more, as digital channels continue to provide a vital and cost-effective solution in helping SMEs adapt and thrive within a challenging economic environment.”

business.connected courses have resonated particularly well with Britain’s SoHo (Small Office, Home Office) businesses – defined as those organisations with 10 workers or fewer – who account for nine-in-10 signups to the programme. One such business, Cup a Sweet, a home-based dessert company in Essex, has already seen stronger engagement online as a result of taking up the courses on digital marketing.

Entrepreneur and Cup a Sweet Founder Saarah Dakri, said: “The business.connected programme has had an amazing impact on my dessert business. Cup a Sweet is a small business run from my home kitchen and entirely through social media, primarily, Instagram. However, the business.connected marketing and social media modules have given me a broader insight into ways of expanding the business. By marketing my products in alternative ways, I’ve been able to make my social media posts more engaging and therefore attract more clients. This has now opened up more opportunities for Cup a Sweet, allowing me to ship custom-made orders rather than just supplying to those in my surrounding area.

“Starting a business in the midst of the pandemic, proved to be very difficult when my main packaging supplier went into liquidation, however, the business.connected resources have now helped me source suppliers in a more efficient way to help expand and develop the business. I highly recommend small businesses to take advantage of the resources on offer, there’s something to cater for all levels, whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned business veteran.”

Thinking of starting your own business? Four founders share their stories

Vodafone has enlisted the advice of four business owners to help make more relevant content for V-Hub, the company’s one-stop-shop website for small businesses.

Emma Jones, CBE, founder and CEO of Enterprise Nation, said: “For small businesses, increasing digital skills is a key way to mitigate the costs associated with higher inflation. business.connected has already supported more than 100,000 businesses to boost their digital skills, so we’re excited to be able to expand this successful digital training initiative to support another 800,000 firms over the next three years with the help of our brilliant partners. It’s vital we do everything we can to support the UK’s small business community to increase productivity and find new sales as consumers shop around online for lower prices.”

Andreas Georgiou, VP Product Marketing, Sage said: “Our partnership with the business.connected hub provides the stepping stones to help small businesses get the right accounting and finance advice and support needed to digitalise their operations and be more resilient and successful.

“By being part of this initiative, we can help accelerate tech adoption, which will boost the digital economy and help unlock growth.”

Michael Carlin, Zym, Founder and CEO said: “We believe this new partnership has the potential to be a real gamechanger for small business owners right across the UK. Zym is a unique automated digital platform, created specifically for start-ups and small businesses who want to scale at speed.  As part of this new initiative our team will be helping to educate and upskill small business owners in key areas of marketing and sales through the programme’s workshops, webinars, and e-learning portals. Success for us is seeing businesses availing of the Government’s Help to Grow support, harnessing automated digital marketing, and experiencing rapid, sustainable growth.”

View the full range of free digital business courses available through business.connected.

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Notes to Editors

Top five regions where business.connected courses have proven popular

London 38%

South East 19%

North West 9%

West Midlands 7%

East of England 6%

Top five sectors engaging with business.connected courses

Food and Drink 10%

Technology 10%

Health and Wellness 9%

Creative and media 8%

Professional Business Consultancies 8%

About Cup a Sweet

Cup a Sweet is a small home run dessert business that can be created and personalised to suit any theme or event. It all began when I decided to turn my hobby baking into a business in May 2020. Since the launch, Cup a Sweet has now developed to supply favours and desserts for weddings, birthdays, celebrity baby showers and more.

About Enterprise Nation

Enterprise Nation is the UK’s leading small business network and business support provider delivering support to more than 50,000 small businesses every month. Its aim is to help people turn their good ideas into great businesses – through expert advice (including a comprehensive resources library), events, acceleration support and networking. In 2020 it launched two high profile business support initiatives: the Amazon Small Business Accelerator and the Recovery Advice for Business scheme which collectively aim to support thousands of small firms impacted by the pandemic.

Enterprise Nation’s small business active membership grew by 34% in 2020. It now has more than 120,000 members and subscribers, 10% of which are professional advisers from a range of sectors offering strategic support to small firms. The adviser platform sees hundreds of connections every week with small firms reaching out for advice.

Enterprise Nation was founded in 2005 by British entrepreneur Emma Jones CBE, also co-founder of national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain. She is author of best-selling business books including Spare Room StartupWorking 5 to 9Go GlobalStart a Business for £99 and the StartUp KitGoing for Growth. She is a frequently called-on and regular media commentator on a range of issues which affect the UK’s growing number of SMEs. In 2018 FTSE 100 entrepreneur and HomeServe founder Richard Harpin invested in Enterprise Nation with the aim of creating a ‘more entrepreneurial Britain’.

About Sage

Sage exists to knock down barriers so everyone can thrive, starting with the millions of small and mid-sized businesses served by us, our partners and accountants. Customers trust our finance, HR and payroll software to make work and money flow. By digitising business processes and relationships with customers, suppliers, employees, banks and governments, our digital network connects SMBs, removing friction and delivering insights. Knocking down barriers also means we use our time, technology and experience to tackle digital inequality, economic inequality and the climate crisis.

About ZYM

Zym is a unique out-of-the-box automated digital marketing solution that integrates the functionality of nine different platforms in an easy-to-use cloud-based eco system. Created and built by market-leading global experts with ambitious, growth focused small businesses in mind, Zym covers all aspects of the digital marketing journey, from finding new customers to ongoing marketing communications and in-depth reporting. Zym offers a range of pricing plans to help small businesses do marketing better. You can even try all of Zym’s powerful marketing tools free for 14 days before choosing the Zym plan that works for you.

Find out more at

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693


Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews


Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

Registered in England No: 1471587