The government is being urged to consider introducing ‘growth vouchers' to help time-strapped small business owners adopt digital technologies.

Research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) showed that 76% of SMEs made some form of improvement to their business in the last 3 years.

Most (95%) SMEs polled brought in new software, changed marketing processes or made changes to their organisational structure.

But only around 2 in 5 smaller firms had introduced cloud services or used some other form of online data storage, while 33% had embraced digital file transfer technology.

That prompted the FSB to call on the government to provide training to enable business owners introduce productivity-boosting technology.

Martin McTague, policy chairman at the FSB, said:

"We are calling for government to explore putting in place a tax credit for those time-poor small businesses that can't afford to take time out of their everyday businesses to take part in training.

"Innovation is key to the survival and growth of all smaller businesses and a vital ingredient in the growth and development of a small business.

"The focus needs to be on how to improve productivity across all the UK's 5.7 million small businesses and the self-employed."

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