INDEPENDENT businesses in Coventry are being offered free support to improve their online presence as the city prepares for UK City of Culture 2021.
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and tourism sector can benefit from the new programme of workshops and one-to-one support being delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Coventry City Council.
It has been funded through the council’s Additional Restrictions Grant support package for businesses.
The Chamber is working with digital and retail specialists Stories Marketing to deliver the programme which includes a one-hour taster session, two workshops and one-to-one support.
Businesses can benefit from advice and practical tips on digital marketing, low-cost online tools and social media, all with the aim of connecting more with their customers, increasing sales online, as well as driving footfall into their stores once they can fully reopen.
A similar project has proved to be extremely successful with businesses in Warwickshire and now independents in Coventry, both in the city centre, and neighbouring bricks and mortar businesses, will be able to access help to grow their online following and their in-store sales ahead of the economy reopening later this year.
Keely Hancox, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce operations manager, said: “We are extremely pleased to be bringing this support to businesses in Coventry – particularly with UK City of Culture just a matter of weeks away.
“We’ve run similar projects in Warwickshire over the past 12 months and they have proved to be very popular, with many small businesses saying that the skills they learned helped them to survive the pandemic.
“It’s not just about selling online, however. The support offers businesses the chance to grow an online community, communicate with their customers, build their brand and demonstrate their individuality and uniqueness, all with the aim of driving sales both online and in store.
“Stories Marketing has proved to be a great partner in delivering the workshops.
“They are two friends born and bred in Coventry, with an extensive background in retail, having owned a series of stores around Coventry and Warwickshire.”
Coun Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said: “The last 12 months have been tough so I’m really pleased as we get ready to welcome people back to the city centre that we are able to partner with the Chamber to offer specialist support to small businesses, including independents.
“Online shopping is on the rise but if traders are to thrive they need to be able to successfully operate online and in store and that’s exactly what this support is all about.
“Of course we have been hard at work in the city centre – combining the best of the old and the best of the new and creating the kind of environment where people want to spend time and money supporting local businesses.”
Independent businesses can register their interest at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/coventry-digital-skills-32696072537