How to apply to provide digital technologies under the Help to Grow: Digital scheme if you're a software vendor.
Update: 15 December 2022
The Help to Grow: Digital programme will close to new business applications for discounts on 2 February 2023. The programme is closed for vendor applications.
See today’s announcement: Final opportunity for businesses to access Help to Grow: Digital scheme.
Help to Grow: Digital is a UK-wide scheme to help small and medium size businesses (SMEs) adopt digital technologies that are proven to increase their productivity.
The scheme offers SMEs free and impartial advice on how technology can help their business. An online platform helps them to:
- identify their digital technology needs
- assess technology purchasing options
- implement new technologies in their operations
The scheme also offers eligible SMEs a grant token worth up to £5,000 to cover up to half of the costs of pre-approved, digital technology solutions.
The Help to Grow: Digital scheme launched in January 2022. It will run for 3 years, taking a phased approach over a number of waves. Each wave will provide the opportunity to roll out new technologies and functionalities for SMEs and vendors.
SMEs eligible for the grant token will:
- have between 1 and 249 employees
- be a UK company registered with Companies House or on the Financial Conduct Authority’s Mutuals Register
- be incorporated and actively trading for over a year before they apply for the discount
- be purchasing the software for the first time
Eligible SMEs are able to claim a grant token for 1 technology product only at this time. SMEs who have used a grant token for Customer Relationship Management or Accounting software will not be eligible to purchase an ecommerce solution.
Eligible vendors will:
- be a UK company registered with Companies House
- be incorporated and actively trading for at least a year
- be a producer and vendor of eligible ecommerce technology or a key subcontractor providing the product in line with the terms and conditions (we are not accepting resellers or partner networks)
- demonstrate cyber security measures are in place (verified against a number of tests)
- be GDPR compliant
You will need to undergo fraud and eligibility checks in line with the terms and conditions (PDF) of the scheme. This will include credit checks to ensure financial viability and sanctions screening. Successful vendors will be subject to regular fraud and eligibility checks, at least every 12 months.
You will need to put in place additional technical capabilities to comply with the grant token requirements.
Ecommerce products are the only technology eligible for this wave of the scheme.
You will need to demonstrate that products:
- meet the minimum functionality specifications for ecommerce products
- can be purchased through a complete online retail buying journey in a self-service capacity, at the time of the application (if your online buying journey is not clear from your website, you may need to provide additional evidence such as screenshots)
- have a listed price without the need for a negotiated sales process (if the price is not visible on your website, you may need to provide additional evidence such as screenshots)
- have out of the box functionality with minimum configuration required (the product should have business ready processes, screens, and data requirements available as a default solution)
- have an existing UK SME customer base, illustrating that it’s supporting UK SMEs (this will be reviewed against a threshold set by BEIS)
- provide the expected functionality and capability in a stand-alone solution that enables the SME to publish their own commerce presence and storefront online
- demonstrate adherence to cyber security protection measures
- are sold as a software solution (either as a Software as a Service (SaaS) or on-premise solution including monthly subscription, annual or multi-year contract) and not as a pay per use service (the software may have elements of pay per use within them, but costs associated with those functions would not be covered by the grant token, and the vendor should clearly state this to the SME)
- have a verifiable history of use (over 12 months) by SMEs using customer retention rates (this will be reviewed against a threshold set by BEIS)
- are endorsed by customers through the use of public rating sites (G2, Capterra or GetApp) (these reviews must be at product level and will be reviewed against a threshold set by BEIS)
All eligibility criteria listed above must be met at time of application. Applications will not be considered where the vendor must make changes to products or processes to make them eligible.
This eligibility criteria will be reviewed and may be updated ahead of future waves. We intend to bring additional technology categories into the scheme in future waves.
Ecommerce must be the core capability provided by eligible products. It must not be a module within a larger product ecosystem.
Products not currently eligible for the scheme include:
- add-ons and integrated solutions that extend capability following an ecosystem approach (this applies to all technologies that take a similar modular approach to providing capabilities or have an app marketplace that sells add-on components developed by independent software vendors or partners (ISVs/ISPs))
- single product ‘business management solutions’ targeting fuller operational capability and broader functional coverage providing capability for end-to-end operational management
- existing marketplace ‘seller accounts’ that allow an SME to publish and sell their product catalogue
This is not an exhaustive list of excluded software types or packages. You should consider how your product fits against all eligibility criteria when submitting your applications.
The Help to Grow: Digital scheme offers eligible SMEs up to £5,000 to cover up to half of the costs of pre-approved, digital technology solutions for 12 months.
The grant token is redeemable with eligible vendors, for approved products. It’s for vendors to calculate and provide the discount when an SME makes an eligible purchase, in line with the terms and conditions (PDF).
It’s the vendors responsibility to seek reimbursement for the value of the grant token from the scheme administrator.
How to apply
Now closed to vendor applications.
After you’ve applied
Vendors will be notified about the outcome of their application by 21 April 2022.
If your application is successful
Following notification we will supply vendors with further information, including:
- further details on the grant token technical requirements
- the criteria for listing their products through the Help to Grow: Digital Platform
- how and when vendors will be able to use the Help to Grow: Digital branding
- the final process for reimbursement of grant tokens
We expect to have all vendors and products onboarded and testing taken place by May.
If your application is unsuccessful
For those applications which are unsuccessful there are routes available to:
- lodge an appeal
- make a complaint
If you’re informed your application is unsuccessful you have the right to appeal the outcome within 10 working days of the receipt of your application outcome.
You also have the right to make a complaint at any stage of the application process, or during the operation of the scheme for successful applicants.
For further information on how to make an appeal or complaint, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help and guidance
If you have any questions, contact the Help to Grow: Digital team:
Help to Grow: Digital scheme enquiries
1 Victoria Street
We are unable to respond promptly to letters sent in the post at the moment. Please email to ensure we can respond to your enquiry as quickly as possible.