How do digital skills free up time and money?

The Economic and Business Development team embraced the information age long ago. The research data we collect from national and local sources, informs all activities that we do to improve the economic well being of Denbighshire.

Last year we completed the Denbighshire business survey for the third year running. This annual survey takes the temperature of Denbighshire’s economy and business health to find out how business owners are feeling about their situation, their future and what we can do to make things even better.

In Denbighshire we can see the digital skills gap closing as the clever businesses save time and money through new skills.

An important part of the business survey is to find out how business life is changing and what skills businesses now need to stay ahead of the competition. The business survey has shown that 8 out of 10 businesses value skills over attitude when hiring new staff. Is this because businesses desperately need new staff with digital skills in their businesses? A survey by Fujitsu has shown that 77 percent of 1,400 UK employees believe their organisation’s future success hinges on the effective use of digital technology. Yet a separate survey shows that 49 percent of UK SMEs face a digital skills gap.

In Denbighshire we can see the digital skills gap closing as the clever businesses save time and money through new skills. By looking at the ways businesses market themselves we can see that the smallest businesses, with the least time and money to spend are far more likely to use Facebook to present their business to the world on the web. As businesses grow there is more information to be shared and a business need a website; and by the time a business is medium sized, web advertising is even more popular than word of mouth.

But there is still work to do.

Most businesses can’t just hire digitally literate staff. If businesses are to close the digital skills gap it takes a little work for a big gain, and it looks like Denbighshire businesses are up for the challenge. When asked what skills businesses would like to learn over three quarters of businesses wanting training said they want to learn e-commerce and well over half want to learn social media.

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Denbighshire’s March for Business month returns

A major month-long series of events to support businesses returns with its biggest ever schedule.

Denbighshire County Council’s March for Business month returns with 23 varied events offering almost 100 hours of content at venues across the county.

The business month, held throughout March, features social media training, networking events with the Federation of Small Businesses and West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, an event for young entrepreneurs and sessions on exporting, Welsh in business and a showcase of local food producers.

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Cllr Hugh Evans OBE, Leader of Denbighshire, said: “We designed this year’s programme to meet the needs of businesses in the county.

“March for Business offers firms the chance to network and get expert advice around issues that matter to them.

“They can then take this knowledge forward and help grow their business, making a real difference to the county’s economy.

“The focus of March for Business was devised following feedback from our annual Business Survey and shows the Council is listening to businesses and offering them support to suit their needs.”

March for Business is part of the Council’s work on developing the local economy through its Economic and Community Ambition Strategy, which includes a number of high priority projects to help businesses succeed.

Carole Derbyshire-Styles, 57, has run Corwen’s Vintage Home Styles, selling vintage and antique furniture, for the past two years.

She said: “I attended March for Business last year and it was very informative. I took a course around social media marketing.  It gave me ideas how to market my business better. We have increased engagement and people find us online and then phone or call in, we have people coming from as far as Birmingham.

“It was beneficial for me and for the business.”

Mrs Derbyshire-Styles, who also received a grant from Denbighshire County Council to revamp her shopfront, is now set to open a warehouse on the site of Corwen’s former auction house to keep up with demand.

She said: “I can’t keep up with what people are asking me for, the warehouse will have space for more items.

“We will be attending March for Business this year and I would recommend other businesses take advantage too.”

Lizzie Peters, from Phoenix Optical Technologies, an optical manufacturing firm based on St Asaph Business Park, attended the Denbighshire for Growth event at last year’s March for Business.

She said: “The event was a great opportunity for local businesses to network. I found out about companies I hadn’t heard of previously and gained new connections in training and other industries. The talks were very informative and it was interesting to hear the future plans for St Asaph Business Park. We had a great response to our stand on the day, we were advertising our Armourdillo Toughened Glass and as a result I was asked to speak and give a presentation at the Wales Festival of Innovation.

“I’d encourage businesses of all sizes to take advantage of the varied programme for March for Business as there are sessions tailored for all sizes of businesses.”

For more information or to book visit