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Press Release | 07 Jul 2020

Phone a Dragon: Former Dragons’ Den investor Piers Linney backs Vodafone’s new V-Hub Business Support Platform

Phone a Dragon: Former Dragons’ Den investor Piers Linney backs Vodafone’s new V-Hub Business Support Platform
  • Vodafone launches V-Hub, a platform to help small businesses develop their digital capabilities as they get back on their feet following the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Entrepreneur and former Dragons’ Den investor Piers Linney will act as an adviser as part of the V-Hub’s tailored 1-1 guidance service, including taking calls from small businesses.
  • The V-Hub platform will give small business customers access to a team of advisers who will provide one-to-one support on how to build an online presence, from creating a website and enabling online sales to managing online security risks and digital marketing.
  • More than three quarters of small businesses believe they need to expand their online skills and knowledge, according to Vodafone research, and 40% believe they need improved online sales skills to respond to the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Vodafone’s new weekly podcast ‘Business Unusual’, hosted by TV personality Claudia Winkleman and aimed at the small business community, will be available to listen to and download via the V-Hub platform.

United Kingdom: Entrepreneur and former Dragon’s Den investor Piers Linney has teamed up with Vodafone for the launch of its V-Hub business support platform, aimed at helping small businesses be more effective online while staying safe.

V-Hub users will have access to one-on-one support with a dedicated business adviser, as well as access to an online knowledge centre that will be continually updated. Unlimited access to the both will be free throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Piers, who has over 15 years experience in running and guiding successful businesses, will be providing informative content for the V-Hub platform, highlighting his best tips and tricks for running a business. Piers will also be joining the V-Hub one-to-one business guidance team for a day to provide guidance over the phone to small businesses.

The V-Hub launch comes as research conducted by Vodafone found 77% of small businesses feel they need to make better use of digital tools to grow their business, and 82% need to expand their presence online. 40% felt that lack of online sales knowledge has held them back during the Covid-19 crisis, and one in four felt they didn’t know enough about online security threats.

The Vodafone V-Hub platform can be found online. The service is simple to navigate – users select which online discipline they are keen to focus on, and are then matched to an adviser. The V-Hub provides content for the following areas:

  • Building an online presence – including web design, selling online and marketing. All are essential to surviving the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Online security – helping to protect small businesses from the massive rise in cyber-attacks since the Covid-19 crisis began.
  • Remote working – something that has quickly become a necessity, raising challenges around wellbeing, productivity, satisfaction and security.

Piers Linney, Entrepreneur and Vodafone V-Hub Adviser, said: “Vodafone’s V-Hub platform is an excellent resource for any small business looking for tips and solutions to improve their digital operations. As the economy continues to steer itself through the Covid-19 crisis, businesses will be more reliant than ever on being online – many small businesses need to upskill, not just to make the most of being online, but to do it safely and securely. Digital skills in the current climate could prove essential to their survival.”

Anne Sheehan, Director of Business at Vodafone UK, said: “It is so important to the UK that the small business community makes it through this crisis. We’ve made broadband and Microsoft 365 free for six months, and now we’re providing free access to guidance that can help businesses build their online presence, or get online for the first time. We’ve helped our customers through plenty of change over three decades at Vodafone, but never has the pace of change been so rapid and so vital to staying afloat. We are here to help you navigate these changes, and make the most of new opportunities.”

photo of a small business owner using a desktop computer
A small business owner using a desktop computer.

New and insightful content will be regularly added to the platform, including episodes of Vodafone’s new weekly podcast, Business Unusual, created to offer guidance to the small business community. Each week, Claudia Winkleman will speak with a different small business owner to discuss their approach to dealing with changes and challenges, before and during the Covid-19 crisis.

Last month, Vodafone made Business Broadband and Microsoft Office 365 free for six months to support the UK’s small business community. Vodafone has also implemented a new policy for businesses that are most at risk within its supply chain to ensure that micro and small suppliers are paid in 15 days.

-Ends-

Notes to Editors

Business Unusual Podcast Guests:

Research sample size was 310 UK based small and medium sized businesses, with 1-150 employees.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK 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).

Having made the UK’s first mobile phone call and sent the first text message, Vodafone has a history as a tech pioneer. In 2018 we made the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G, and were first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. We now have 5G in more places than anyone else, with multiple locations now live across the UK and the rest of Europe.

Today we serve more than 18 million mobile and fixed line customers in the UK, with 4G network coverage at 99%.  Our customers voted us the UK’s Best Mobile Network at the 2018 Trusted Reviews Awards – for the second year in a row. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

Connectivity is at the heart of what we do as it gives us a huge opportunity for good. We are using our network, products, talents and technology to help society prosper and respond to significant social and environmental issues.  Our free Digital Parenting magazine is helping families and schools across the UK to navigate the online world safely. Meanwhile, the Vodafone Foundation’s work with researchers at Imperial College is developing personalised cancer treatment using the processing power of smartphones.

We are part of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest technology communications companies, with mobile operations in 26 countries, partnerships with mobile networks in 55 more, and fixed broadband operations in 19 markets.  As of 30 September 2019, Vodafone Group had approximately 625 million mobile customers, 27 million fixed broadband customers, and 22 million TV customers – including all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk

 

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693

Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews

Website: https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk

Vodafone Limited

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