Latest News | 8 August 2022

Chamber hails success of digital support project

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An initiative delivered by East Midlands Chamber and Purpose Media to provide free digital support in a Derbyshire town has helped more than 120 businesses.

Since being launched in June last year, the Chesterfield Digital High Street project has engaged 127 small and microbusinesses reliant on bricks and mortar to transition into the digital world by building their online offering for customers and improving their social media profile.

Of this cohort, 81 businesses worked with a digital high street adviser, 56 companies developed a digital action plan and 50 firms accessed grants worth £2,200.

Some 38 new websites are now either live or in development – many of these equipped with the latest payment systems, as well as modern shopping concepts like “click and collect”.

Funded by Chesterfield Borough Council, the year-long project aimed to support small outfits in sectors such as retail, hospitality and leisure, which were hit hardest by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, to become more resilient.

Diane Beresford, deputy chief executive of East Midlands Chamber, said: “We’ve been delighted with the level of engagement with the Chesterfield Digital High Street project among businesses, which are now well-placed to embrace current and future digital trends.

“This will go some way to ensuring the much-loved independent businesses on our high street continue to thrive in a sustainable fashion for a long time to come.”

Among those who have benefited is Ibrahim Assaf, who runs Ibzy Salon.

Ibrahim, who took up the offer of creating a website, said: “I didn’t have a Google business profile at the time, which meant we weren’t listed, and new customers couldn’t find me.

“I was helped to set up my page and download the app, so I can easily make changes to opening times and prices.

“I have noticed an increase in new customers who have come to us by finding us on Google and through our new website.

“With the bigger customer base, I have now recruited another two barbers so we can offer more services and shorter waiting times.”

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