It is impossible to deny the impact of COVID-19 on the business community; according to recent research by Business Gateway, the pandemic is still a concern for over 300 Scottish SMEs. This includes the hospitality industry, which has been one of the worst affected sectors in Scotland. However, it is also an industry that has responded with a number of innovative initiatives.
Despite the significant challenges faced, the sector has demonstrated itself as capable of introducing different ways of working to ensure its survival. One such example Business Gateway supported during the initial stages of lockdown was the Old Manse of Blair, a boutique hotel in rural Perthshire that introduced virtual check-ins and allowed guests to order food directly to their rooms.
It is clear that for this business, along many others, technology has been embraced as a great leveller, with many utilising social media to drive sales, reach customers and expand their reach, and while some things remain uncertain, it is clear that digital capabilities will be vital for businesses going forward.
In recognition of this, funding for DigitalBoost, Scotland’s national digital skills programme delivered by Business Gateway, has been trebled. This will be a critical lifeline to help businesses overcome the challenges brought about by COVID-19.
However, we recognise that for many across the industry, this will be a challenging time. With the loss of summer bookings and the increased possibility of local lockdowns, many will be concerned about survival through the winter period.
We know this is undoubtedly daunting, and as such, we would encourage those concerned to get in touch with your local Business Gateway office. Regardless of your needs during these challenging times, our advisers are available to provide specialist, tailored 1:1 support, via phone or Skype to help your business survive, discover possibilities, and take advantage of the crucial support that is available for the sector.
Comprehensive online support is also available on the Business Gateway website: https://www.bgateway.com/coronavirus-business-support-across-scotland