Amazon and Enterprise Nation announce the West Midlands Amazon Small Business Accelerator virtual event in collaboration with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), which will take place during Birmingham Tech Week at 10.15am on Wednesday 14 October 2020, giving people advice on how to start and grow a business online and sell on Amazon.
This comes as research* by Enterprise Nation, the small business support network, revealed that 77% of small businesses across the West Midlands plan to increase their digital skills as a result of the impact of the pandemic and economic lockdown; 100% of businesses surveyed plan to broaden services to improve their business and avoid future shocks.
The Amazon Small Business Accelerator launched in June 2020 with free online training to help 200,000 businesses at every stage. The West Midlands Amazon Accelerator event will be a virtual live panel discussion hosted by Emma Jones, CEO of Enterprise Nation.
Following the event, attendees will be invited to join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator, where businesses can take a quick online diagnostic test to find the learning path that best fits with the current stage of their journey – ‘Start’, ‘Grow’ or ‘Turbo’ – with free e-learning training on accounting, social media, scaling production, hiring teams and more.
Participants can also apply to free week-long sector-specific bootcamps, to provide additional, tailored personal training and expertise for up to 1,000 startups and small businesses to help them trade online. Businesses will have access to new benefits designed to help them, ranging from discounts on business supplies from Amazon Business, to dedicated Amazon Web Services (AWS) training and partner offers. Businesses will also receive 12 months’ free expert support as part of ongoing membership to Enterprise Nation.
The Amazon Small Business Accelerator virtual event takes place in partnership with the West Midlands Digital Skills Partnership, which formed in 2018 to bring together tech firms, businesses, universities, colleges and training providers from the region, to find ways to improve local people’s digital skills and qualifications.
The Amazon Small Business Accelerator is being supported by the team at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Rugeley. Gary Norton, Site Leader at Amazon in Rugeley, said: “As someone born and raised in the West Midlands, I know first-hand the importance of a strong local economy for communities across our region, and we hope the Amazon Small Business Accelerator will help many small businesses grow over the coming weeks and months.”
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and by helping them we can support families and communities in the West Midlands bounce back more quickly,” commented Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “We have a long track record of supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, with more than half of all products sold on Amazon coming from our selling partners, including many in the West Midlands. Some businesses have found their way through this year by providing more goods and services online. Now we are working with the West Midlands Combined Authority to provide firms in the West Midlands with access to the skills, tools and support they need to succeed in the digital world.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA): “The West Midlands economy was in good shape before the pandemic, and we are doing everything we can to get back on our feet quickly. We need to keep as many people in work as possible, so it’s critical that we support local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to enable our economy to recover.
“We know that companies across the region have had to move their trade online because of the pandemic. Improving their digital capability gives them the potential to increase sales, safeguard jobs and make their business more resilient. The Amazon Small Business Accelerator will help local firms to do exactly that, and I urge SMEs across the West Midlands – whether they’ve just started in business or are an established company wanting to grow their operations – to sign up to the event.”
Emma Jones MBE, CEO of Enterprise Nation: “The pandemic has demonstrated that businesses need to get better at e-commerce in order to continue to trade seamlessly, and our research shows that there is a need for more support. The West Midlands Amazon Small Business Accelerator event will help local businesses become more robust and reduce risk to futureproof trade going forward.”