AMAZON’S operation in Southampton is urging local entrepreneurs to sign up to a free support package for 200,000 small businesses.

The online giant, which has a delivery station in the city, is offering support including training, services and a week-long bootcamp which will help 1,000 businesses get online.

Amazon has joined with the small business support network Enterprise Nation to launch the Amazon Small Business Accelerator and help small firms through the coronavirus crisis.

Businesses can take an online diagnostic test to find the learning “path” that best fits their business – Start, Grow or Turbo.

Benefits for participants range from discounts on business supplies and protective equipment from Amazon Business to training in Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Doug Gurr, Amazon UK country manager, said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy in Southampton and by helping them we can help families, communities and the UK bounce back more quickly.

“Amazon in Southampton is passionate about supporting local entrepreneurs and small businesses, with more than half of all products sold on Amazon stores coming from our selling partners.

“Many businesses have found their way through the crisis by providing goods and services online. Now the Amazon Small Business Accelerator with Enterprise Nation will provide thousands of offline and online businesses with the skills, tools and support they need to succeed in the digital world, to reach customers through Amazon or any other service.”

The bootcamps which form part of the scheme will help 1,000 mostly offline start-ups and small businesses to trade online. Businesses in the fashion, beauty and wellbeing, food and drink, services, and home and leisure sectors will join a five-day online course with access to experts and peer-to-peer networking.

Bootcamp participants can also access 12 months of support from a wide range of accredited advisers, covering topics on marketing, operations and managing finances, as well as benefits including discounts and credits from Amazon and partners.

Amazon says it is already helping thousands of small businesses by waiving storage and removal fees for new sellers on its Fulfilment by Amazon service. Its Amazon Launchpad programme, which showcases products from start-ups, has offered fee relief as well as online training on funding, marketing and other topics.

Amazon Pay users can receive chargeback, relief and extensions an AWS will be running online events for start-ups, with advice and resources for small businesses seeking to modernise their use of technology.

Amazon is working with the British Chambers of Commerce to provide up to 1,000 businesses with the opportunity to tour Amazon fulfilment centres.

Oliver Dowden, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, said: “It is vital that small businesses are able to develop the digital skills they need to help connect with customers online, expand their offer and drive their company’s growth. So it’s great to see Amazon and Enterprise Nation joining forces to help thousands of small businesses and startups take full advantage of our dynamic digital economy.”

Emma Jones, head of Enterprise Nation, said: “We have worked with Amazon to support small businesses for many years, but this is our most ambitious and important programme to date.”


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