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New digital advertising platform aims to help businesses grow online

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Grace Osborne, Founder of Natural Grace London.
74% of small firms have increased their use of social media to promote their business online: Source: BT research

BT, the UK’s leading telecommunications and a network provider serving customers in 180 countries, has launched a new digital advertising platform to make it easier for businesses to run their own digital marketing campaigns, helping them to better promote their goods and services online.

BT’s Digital Marketing Hub aims to give businesses useful tools and support to create, publish and measure their digital advertising across Google, Facebook, and Instagram – all from a single platform.

With the majority of businesses moving online during the pandemic, a survey by Small Business Britain carried out in September 2021, in partnership with BT, found that 74 per cent of small firms have increased their use of social media to promote their business online. 43 per cent of those polled said they were using e-commerce more, while 30 per cent had increased their use of paid social media advertising.

However, while small businesses recognise the importance of using social media to reach more customers online, 40 per cent of the 5.9 million SMEs in the UK (2.4 million) aren’t using paid digital media advertising. This lack of adoption risks holding a significant proportion of the UK’s small firms back from growth as the economy looks to recover from Covid.

Developed with feedback from more than 1,500 businesses, BT’s Digital Marketing Hub has been designed to help those that often lack the time, resource, confidence, or skills to start or boost their own digital advertising campaigns. From sole traders and small businesses looking to take their first steps into digital advertising, to larger companies looking to optimise big-budget display, social or search campaigns, the Digital Marketing Hub provides an all-in-one solution.

Businesses can create ads and run multi-channel marketing campaigns while all the results feed into a single analytics dashboard. With artificial intelligence (AI) working in the background, businesses can get automatic recommendations around the best keywords, ad copy and media spends to include in their campaigns, helping secure maximum return on investment. To support small businesses without their own website, the Digital Marketing Hub also provides the option to create a bespoke webpage to direct potential customers to.

“As a track athlete with a passion for sustainability, founding my business enabled me to create high performance sportswear whilst tackling the pressing issue of ocean plastic. The BT Digital Marketing Hub really helps to streamline an essential part of the business. I can monitor and make changes to my online ads without having to move from one platform to another. It’s really simple to use and has given us invaluable insights.” – says Grace Osborne, Founder of Natural Grace London.

“This is a pivotal time for small businesses across the country, after a really tough couple of years. Small firms are the backbone of the UK economy, so it’s vital that they’re equipped with the digital tools and support they need to help their business reach new heights. They can reach a much bigger audience by using the power of digital advertising, but many lack the time, money, and confidence to do this effectively. Our new Digital Marketing Hub has been designed to give small businesses peace of mind that their online advertising campaigns are reaching the right customers, in the right place, at the right time.” – adds Chris Sims, BT’s MD for its SoHo (Single/Small Office, Home Office) unit.

Customers can register their interest to receive a call from one of BT’s dedicated team of digital marketing experts to help them choose the service level that’s right for their business and get their advertising up and running.

EuroNewsweek is a dynamic news platform featuring lifestyle, sustainability, successful stories, tech, leadership, creative marketing, business, and the unstoppable people behind them.

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Fund to launch and grow a business will help black entrepreneurs in the UK

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Blacl barber looks after a client and his business
Applications are open for funding of up to £15,000 for the most innovative new business ideas and exciting existing companies in the UK 

Future 100 Growth Fund, a programme backing Black British entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses is now open for applications. The £1m partnership between Europe’s leading media and entertainment company, Sky, and the newly launched independent civil rights group, the Black Equity Organisation (BEO), aims to provide funding and support over three years to help overcome the significant barriers faced by young Black entrepreneurs in Britain when setting up businesses.

“We want to share our platform and capability to create lasting change for Black British entrepreneurs. We are pleased to be working with BEO to provide direct assistance and advice from Sky to help make the UK a great place for Black businesses.” – celebrated Dana Strong, CEO of the Sky’s Group. The company has made £30 million commitment to tackle structural inequality and make a difference in communities impacted by racism.

Driving economic empowerment and equity of opportunity for Black people and businesses is one of six key areas Black Equity Organisation will focus on. Research has highlighted that in the 10 years between 2009-19, only 0.24% of the total invested in UK start-ups from venture capital funding went to Black entrepreneurs. Just 0.02% went to Black female entrepreneurs.

Besides offering funding of up to £15,000 for the most innovative new business ideas and exciting existing companies, the initiative aims to create a network of mentors and community organisations to advise and assist new enterprises through direct financial support and products nurturing talent and innovation.

”The Future 100 Growth Fund will back the next generation of Black founders to thrive and succeed. We can’t wait to see what the applicants achieve through this programme as they drive growth across their businesses and for the UK economy.” – says Dame Vivian Hunt, Chair of Trustees at Black Equity Organisation.

The programme is open to applicants between 18 and 30 years old of Black African, Black Caribbean, Black British and/or Mixed-race descent who are UK residents. The fund will support Black entrepreneurs who are looking to bring a business concept to life, have a fledgling business that they want to scale or have the beginnings of a thriving business.

To find out more about the Future 100 programme and for details on how to apply visit the project here.

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Hospitality industry in the UK threatened by staff shortages

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Two housekeepers making a hotel bed
Housekeepers are expected to receive a 7.4% pay rise, but UK businesses still struggle to recruit staff | Photo: Liliana Drew

The hospitality and leisure sector’s post-pandemic recovery, in the UK, could be severely hampered by the lack of staff, a new report from a British bank has revealed.

“UK Hospitality’s Next Challenge”, a study from Barclays Corporate Banking, shows that the release of pent-up consumer demand for socialising, holidays and experiences following the pandemic has given a boost to the sector. Over three quarters (77%) of H&L operators are confident of growth this year, and had predicted an average 30.5% uplift in revenue compared with pre-pandemic levels. This equates to a £36bn² rise in annual turnover over 2019, and a £54bn increase on 2021.

However, the predicted growth could be stifled by soaring supplier costs and a scramble for talent. Hospitality and leisure businesses report that their transport costs have already spiked by over 38% year-on-year on average, and their utility bills by 37%.

Meanwhile, over nine in 10 (94%) hospitality and leisure businesses are struggling to recruit personnel, with vacancies for cleaning staff (20%), front of house staff (18%), and delivery staff (16%) causing the most issues. There are particularly acute shortages of cleaners in the East Midlands and the East of England (28%).

Almost a fifth (16%) of bars and restaurants are finding it difficult to hire waiting staff, and over two fifths of gyms and leisure centres (42%) cannot find fitness instructors. Recruitment issues also extend to back-of-house and C-suite roles: 17% of operators are having trouble sourcing finance staff and 16% said the same about senior management positions.

“Crucially for the industry, our research shows that talent shortages are also a major concern, with businesses in every vertical finding it challenging to fill their vacancies. It means there is now an added imperative for hospitality and leisure firms to find new and novel ways to recruit, reward and retain their staff.” – says Mike Saul, Head of Hospitality and Leisure at Barclays Corporate Banking.

Hospitality and leisure operators are already establishing new incentives to recruit and retain talent, including permanent work flexibility, the introduction of bonuses, and an increase in staff welfare budgets.

Almost one in five employers (19%) have also increased wages given to staff. Senior managers are set to receive the biggest boost to their pay packets, with an average increase of 7.7% – equivalent to £2,014 a year for a full-time worker. Delivery riders, housekeepers and kitchen staff are also expected to see their wages rise in 2022.

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Contemporary artist Demit Omphroy partners with GAP for NTF collection

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Artists Demit Omphroy on the streets
Partnership: the limited-edition is Demit Omphroy’s first digital series of NFTs | Photo: Instagram

Contemporary artist and former professional soccer player Demit Omphroy is partnering with GAP for its third collection of limited-edition non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

As the brand, founded in 1969, continues to explore new channels to engage customers in the rapidly evolving digital ecosystem, this spring, Demit launched a limited-edition graphic tee collection featuring his unique and recognizable work, and now the artist is launching his first NFTs with Gap. Demit’s art depicts life through vibrant colors and an expressionistic style, seeing the world through his inner child.  

“My work is playful, expressive, and simplistic, yet loaded with emotion. Being able to express myself through a new digital medium and collaborate with Gap, one of the most iconic brands in history, is exciting for me as a creator.” – celebrates the American artist who is also a citizen of Panama and the Philippines through descent.

On June 15, the One of a Kind digital auction will begin, featuring single edition digital art and a custom, hand-painted Gap denim jacket by Demit.  

In July, Gap x DOGAMÍ NFT wearables will launch as the first fashion collaboration in the petaverse. Digital Gap logo hoodies specifically designed for DOGAMÍ avatars will engage players to express their virtual pet’s individual style that will have a direct impact on game stats. 

“Partnering with unique artists and creators is a cornerstone of our NFT program,” – says Chris Goble, Chief Product Officer at Gap. “We are thrilled to collaborate with Demit and to create this vibrant collection of NFTs and product that amplifies his voice and represents his distinct individual style.”  

The Gap Threads marketplace and DOGAMÍ are both built on Tezos, a more energy efficient blockchain, allowing for minimal energy consumption and a low carbon footprint. Customers can also join Gap’s Discord server to connect, engage, and foster a community with other fans of Gap NFTs. The Discord server can be accessed at discord.gg/gapthreads.

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