Photo credit: Shutterstock
The business press tends to run hot with stories about how technology will transform the enterprises of the future. Automation, Apple Pay and chat bots are only some of the topics frequently mentioned by entrepreneurs, innovators and experts alike. What they usually fail to mention is that British small-business owners can’t always afford to invest in these solutions. That’s something Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of both Twitter and payment platform Square, is now aiming to change.
Whilst Dorsey may’ve made the headlines recently, mostly due to Twitter’s ongoing struggles with fake news and his outlandish diet that sees him go days without food, the entrepreneur is eager to help British companies with ten or fewer employees grow. During his visit to London Tech Week, he’s promising to make it easier for these ventures to grow. “We want to ensure that technology has a positive impact on the success of small business owners and their daily lives,” he said.
And this help is surely needed, according to a new report from Square. Having surveyed 2,000 UK SMEs, the payment company found that micro business are more than twice as likely to have had a loan application rejected compared to businesses employing between 50 and 249 people. Moreover, even though the oncoming cashless society has been in the talks for years, only six out of ten micro business accept card payments. That number grew to nine-tenths for businesses with between ten and 249 workers.
That’s where Square is putting its focus – helping micro businesses embrace digital payments. The company has established partnerships with several cash-heavy communities across the British Isles to do that.
Another effort along these lines was unveiled in early June. Together with small business support group Enterprise Nation and Direct Line for Business, Square joined Amazon to launch the Clicks and Mortar scheme, a pop-up store initiative to connect online-only sellers with unused retail spaces, allowing them to sell in person for the first time.
Even though one can speculate that Dorsey’s motivation for helping SMEs access new technology may originate out of the fact that it means more people will use Square’s services, helping small-business owners step into the modern world is something that could strengthen UK entrepreneurs.