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Help more SMEs embrace technology, says report

Small businesses spent an average of £3,500 on technology in the last year, as more employers embrace new methods to grow and create jobs, a report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found.

The FSB said the figure proved that 'investment didn't have to break the bank to see rewards.'

The survey of 2,200 people, conducted in collaboration with technology trade association Intellect, found that 85 per cent of businesses identify investment in new technology as a key driver for business growth.

More than six in ten (62 per cent) said that technology investment had a positive impact on customer communication, with a further 53 per cent believing it had helped them target new customers.

However, the report concluded that there is a significant gap in the market for support, guidance and access to products for small businesses.

A quarter of employers surveyed said that greater levels of skill for themselves and staff would provide an incentive to spend more on technology. Additional technology skills can derive greater productivity from staff, the report said.

Mike Cherry, national policy chairman at the FSB, said: "In order for small businesses to maximise the opportunities that technology presents, we needed to build the understanding and skills of both the management and the workforce. This report gives clear recommendations about how to do that. What is obvious is that the amount invested doesn't need to break the bank, and that something as simple as improving the back office technology can have a positive impact on operations."

The FSB and Intellect are calling for more action from the Government and Local Enterprise Partnerships to help small businesses gain greater technology skills and to help them utilise their potential.