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From peer-to-peer networking to personalisation: Using V-Hub to better support SMEs

15 Dec 2021
Fánan Henriques-alt

Fánan Henriques

Strategy and Transformation Director, Vodafone Business

It’s been a challenging two years for businesses of all sizes.

From disrupted supply chains to remote working, organisations have had to adapt to new ways of working and fast. Some fared better than others, with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) hit the hardest.

In response, we created V-Hub. Offering expert support on how to operate in a digital world, this resource service gives you, our customers, access to online guides, videos and webinars.

A chat and phone service also puts businesses directly in touch with the experts to discuss specific digital transformation challenges and get more tailored support.

We have successfully rolled out V-Hub across 11 markets since last summer and have had over 2.5 million unique visitors, with 23% of users returning, but we know we need to do more.

Our latest research shows that small and medium-sized enterprises are still falling behind their larger counterparts when it comes to the adoption of digital technologies. That’s why we’re now using this service to deliver more information around these emerging technologies and tips for how to get the investment you need.

Access to EU funding

Since we launched V-Hub, we’ve created over 700 pieces of unique content covering topics such as website construction, security, remote working and digital marketing.

As the European Union offers up new funding for SMEs, we are now focusing on sharing information around what funds are available, eligibility criteria and how you can access them to digitise your business.

The nature of funding differs country by country and so too will the information shared across our local V-Hubs.

In Italy, the team has taken this one step further and has launched a premium service.

Vodafone Business Lab Premium includes V-Lab Care, an after-sales service for the features of the Vodafone Business digital solutions and V-Lab Finanza Restart, a telephone consultancy service that helps businesses understand the new national calls for tenders and incentives.

The latter includes support on which funds to apply for, how to apply and if the funds are still available. Experts can also guide customers through the necessary forms right up to the application.

Advice when it matters

We are going to be evolving our advisory service too. Already having had 7,000 conversations to date, we’re going to use these conversations to help businesses become Fit for the Future (FFTF).

As mentioned, our newly launched Fit for the Future Report found that SMEs are still behind their larger counterparts in terms of preparedness for the future. And since being FFTF is all about having the right mindset, such as an openness towards new technologies and a positive attitude towards change, a few small tweaks in your thinking could make a big difference.

As part of the report, we’ll be launching an assessment tool to help organisations understand where they are on their fit for the future journeys and V-Hub will be a key part of this campaign.

We are developing a ‘Digital Twin’ tool which will also provide a status on how your business stacks up against competitors, from a digital readiness perspective. This will highlight any potential opportunities or areas for improvement, giving you a clear plan of action and outlining where you need to focus your efforts.

Working together, we can transform your business, measure the impact and respond accordingly.

Connecting with the community

It’s great to know we are helping organisations get back on their feet during what has been a challenging couple of years, but part of our goal is to create a community. A place where peers can come to learn from each other.

With that in mind we hosted our #ThoseWhoDare event in May. A week-long, virtual event, we had exclusive discussions with over 30 of Europe’s most dynamic and inspiring entrepreneurs and hope to do something similar in 2022.

In Spain, we also launched a Fast Forward event series which supports SMEs and entrepreneurs by giving them access to online sessions taught by digital experts.

Looking to partner with local organisations too, in the UK, we’ve teamed up with Enterprise Nation, a vibrant community of small businesses, to sponsor its ‘Head’s Up’ initiative; a series of localised monthly business workshops run by local leaders.

Through this partnership we will be bringing our expertise and advice in connectivity and digitalisation to Enterprise Nation’s community of over 60,000 business leaders. But more importantly, we’re bringing together entrepreneurs who can learn from and be encouraged by each other.

Making it personal

Looking ahead, we know that each SME faces different and unique challenges which is why we’re developing a more personalised approach. 

A member, gated area, will allow us to tailor content and resource in line with your business interests and areas for improvement. Helping you cut through the noise and have direct access to the information you need. 

Peer-to-peer networking and advice, access to exclusive benefits and co-creation ‘labs’ will all form part of this new offering, creating a space dedicated to inspiring, supporting, and ultimately growing your business to its fullest potential. 

As a leading technology communications company, we want to support every business, no matter its size, to flourish and have the same access to the digital tools that will help it succeed.

Ready to learn more? Visit your local V-Hub to explore the services further.

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