BT's 'SoHo' business aims to help SMBs rebuild post-pandemic

The spin-off will offer broadband packages, free digital skills training and cyber security tools to SMBs and startups

BT has announced plans to launch a new business unit tailored to the unique needs of the small and newly-formed businesses.

Named SoHo, which stands for "Single/Small Office, Home Office", the unit will aim to help the UK's SMBs and startups rebuild following the economically challenging pandemic.

BT's announcement follows a 16% increase in new tech startups last year, according to Companies House, which also recorded a 40% rise in new UK businesses. It estimates that there had been 800,000 new companies set up during the pandemic, many of them being digital shopkeepers and freelancers who work from home. 

SoHo will aid home-based and single-site businesses with their digital and connectivity needs, according to BT, by offering a suite of services and apps including cyber security, free digital skills training, and new digital advertising tools.

The company also announced the launch of a new Wi-Fi package for micro-businesses, which will include full-fibre broadband with speeds of up to 900MHs as well as a Hybrid Connect device that switches to EE's 4G mobile network in the event of any connectivity issues with the fixed-line

BT's managing director for Commercial and Marketing Chris Sims has been appointed the head of the new SoHo business unit, which he said was set up to invest "in the future of the UK's smallest firms and startups which are the lifeblood of the UK economy".

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"Every big business starts small, and we want to help them thrive by delivering flawless connectivity, coverage and customer service - so that their broadband never lets them down," Sims said.

"Building on the purpose of our Skills for Tomorrow programme – which has delivered free digital skills training to almost 300,000 small business employees - we'll also be launching a suite of new services and apps to move the UK's smallest firms into the digital fast lane," he continued, adding that he's "really proud to be leading this new unit at a time when their success has never been more important in securing our country's future as we rebuild after the toughest economic crisis in a generation".

SoHo is to sit in BT's Enterprise division and will officially launch on 1 July 2021.

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