Scotland’s small businesses blaze a trail for digital skills

Small firms in Scotland are making the most of the web with more than 67% in possession of basic online skills, compared to a UK average of 62%

Small businesses in Scotland are digital skills ‘leaders’ when compared to their UK counterparts, with more online skills and a better understanding of cyber security risks, according to the annual Bank of Scotland Business Digital Index.

Assessing five basic online skills such as managing information, communication, transactions, creating, and problem solving, the index surveyed 2,000 small firms and charities and found that fewer than 33% of small enterprises lacked these skills – a 5% improvement on the UK average.

A lack of key digital skills is one of the biggest obstacles for doing more business online, with 15% of small businesses across the UK citing this as a main barrier to growth; a figure which has more than doubled since 2015.

Scottish small businesses were also found to be leading the way in cyber security investment. 60% of small firms said they needed to invest in protecting their business from cyber security attacks, lower than the UK average of 69%.

Chair of the Bank of Scotland’s executive committee, Philip Grant, commented: “The Business Digital Index shows digital maturity is increasing for small businesses in Scotland, however, there are still too many without basic digital skills.

“It’s clear that being online can open the doors to opportunities, as well as cost and time saving benefits. We must do more to encourage small businesses based in Scotland to invest in digital skills, allowing them to make the most out of being online and to reap the benefits.”

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