By Marcus Leach

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is teaming up with School for Startups founder and founding Dragons’ Den panellist Doug Richard to teach web exploitation skills to 3,500 small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) across England.

The Web Fuelled Business initiative will help small businesses in the UK to exploit and leverage the internet for their business.

The initiative is not just about selling online. It includes aspects such as driving marketing through social media, increasing website exposure through search engine optimisation and procuring and enhancing supply chains through business-to-business websites. More effective web use can help boost productivity and growth potential and assist in creating and safeguarding jobs.

The three-month pilot programme, co-funded by BIS, will launch in January 2012. It will include 12 full-day bootcamps, web-broadcasts and support for the businesses as they apply the skills they have learnt within their individual businesses.

“Most new jobs come from small businesses that are growing. The goal of this pilot programme is to train small businesses in leveraging the internet, and in doing so boost the productivity and growth of those firms which have the most potential to create new jobs, wealth and innovation in the UK,” Minister for Business and Enterprise, Mark Prisk MP said.

Doug Richard, founder of School for Startups says small businesses need to maximise the benefits of the internet.

“Small businesses in the UK under-utilize the internet. The focus of this programme, therefore, is an intensive effort to help them to exploit the web to its fullest extent,” he said.

“It is about using the speed of the web to rapidly and radically change the business prospects of a large number of SMEs”

“What we hope to instil in these small businesses is that the power of the internet spans their entire profit and loss statement.”

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