"Businesses are hearing about the roll-out of 5G and it is a very exciting opportunity for Coventry to be one of the first cities to benefit from it."
Paul Fairburn, Coventry University
Companies across Coventry and Warwickshire have been urged to take advantage of the region’s digital capabilities to boost their bottom line.
That was the overriding message from an event staged by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce at the Coventry University Technology Park Simulation Centre with the Institute of Coding.
The event, for the Chamber’s Corporate Members and Strategic Partners, heard that companies are still unaware of the major advantages that technology could bring to their business by increasing efficiency and bolstering sales.
Paul Fairburn, Director of Enterprise & Innovation at Coventry University, said the roll-out of 5G was a case in point.
He said: “Businesses are hearing about the roll-out of 5G and it is a very exciting opportunity for Coventry to be one of the first cities to benefit from it.
“But how many companies across the city know how they will actually be able to apply it to their business and utilise its full capability? That is why it is important that firms know that the technology is there but what they really want is support in applying that to their business.”
A key Government initiative taking place in the area is supporting businesses to realise their digital potential the meeting heard.
Richard Lane, of the Institute of Coding, said businesses in the region could tap into tailored help.
He said: “We are here to equip companies with the key skills needed to compete in a global, digital market.
“More and more jobs now require digital skills and a lack of skills, it is estimated, is costing the UK £2.2 billion.
“A stat that concerns us is that only 26 per cent of businesses lack confidence in their digital skills. You could look at that and think it’s positive that 74 per cent are confident but, actually, we believe they are just unaware of the technologies available to them to improve their business. It’s the unknown unknowns that they need to know about.
“Right now, we are looking at ways that we can help SMEs to develop these skills and gain competitive advantage because we know that their time is precious and they are dealing with day to day pressures of running a business.
“It’s important, therefore, to offer them support that works for their business because in 20 years’ time, 90 per cent of all job will require a level of digital skills.”
Louise Wall, Commercial Director at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Even in uncertain times, it’s absolutely vital that companies look to the future and invest.
“Every business – whatever size or sector – can benefit from enhancing their digital capabilities so it’s important to take the time to understand what those benefits are and take advantage of them.”
For more information on the help available via the Institute of Coding, at Coventry University, please head to https://www.coventry.ac.uk/business/partner-with-us/institute-of-coding/