Many tech suppliers and digital companies are offering their services for free to small business to help it get through the coronavirus Covid-19 shutdown. Here is a list of software and digital services coronavirus help being offered for free to small business.
Accounts Department Online
Leeds-based internet accountancy firm, Accounts Department Online, has launched a new tool to help small businesses find out what financial support they are eligible for quickly during the Covid-19 crisis.
Coconut will launch its free-to-use web tool to help the self-employed calculate self-assessment tax returns on 6 April.
Coconut says its tool will cut time it takes to create a self-assessment by up to 80 per cent and ease the burden on the millions of people who find that they suddenly need to submit their self-assessment early before they can access the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.
Users will be able to connect their existing bank account from 20 major UK banks and within minutes, 24 months of up to date transaction data will be analysed and categorised for tax, giving a clear and simple overview of total income and total allowable expenses, ready to submit to HMRC.
CountingUp, the banking and accounting app, has launched a free coronavirus grant calculator for sole traders, grantcalculator.co.uk.
The calculator helps self-employed sole traders see what grant they are likely to be eligible for under the Self-Employement Support Scheme, which is due to launch at the end of April. They can also calculate lost earnings.
The calculator takes the three most recent years of profit for a sole trader, calculates the average profit, limits to 80 per cent and then determines if the grant is within the government’s monthly cap of £2,500.
Expense management solutions company Expend is offering full access to its platform for free, for up to 20 users, until September 2020. The usual price is £6.99 per month per user. Features include automatic invoice capture and click free integration with QuickBooks and Xero.
Cloud accounting software provider FreeAgent has launched a free-to-use new feature, Radar, designed to boost small business productivity by reducing time spent on admin.
Created as a central hub for day-to-day financial management, Radar will collate key information and tasks that small business owners need to address in their accounts each day – including explaining outstanding bank transactions and reconnecting Open Banking feeds.
Innecto, the consultancy arm of Personal Group, has launched a free furlough calculator to support HR and business leaders as they make tough decisions. The tool allows companies to quickly and easily model furlough arrangements and reductions in pay. Innecto’s Excel modeller has been built based on guidance provided by government. It operates on a monthly basis and takes into account employee contributions, pension type and salary sacrifice.
Companies looking to access funding under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS) can now benefit from free online tools to help them communicate the full range of assets they own and demonstrate their long-term viability.
IP specialist Inngot is providing free access to its web platform for CBILS applicants for the duration of the UK’s lockdown.
Trintech is making its Adra Task Manager software free of charge for six months to help finance teams of mid-sized businesses keep accounts on track while they work remotely. Darren Hefferman, president mid-market at Trintech, says: “This offering will provide new and existing customers increased visibility and control, helping them to close their books confidently each month.”
ACA Compliance Group
Cybersecurity experts, ACA Compliance Group, are offering free Online Cyber Awareness Training to individuals and firms with up to 100 employees, waiving fees until 30 June.
Apple device management platform Addigy is offering free 60-day access to businesses working from home during the coronavirus crisis. Addigy manages and tracks new and existing Apple devices, all from a single console and regardless of location. It helps small business IT managers update software and security settings and manage user groups, as well as troubleshooting tech problems for your staff remotely and in real-time.
For three months, businesses and individuals working from home can access CybSafe’s ‘Remote Working Pack’, which includes three modules designed to keep people safe from harm whilst working from home:
- Social Engineering – a module which teaches people to identify and avoid social cyber attacks such as spoofing, phishing and baiting.
- Public Wifi – which helps people to recognise insecure wifi hotspots, set up a VPN, and use networks securely while working remotely.
- Device Security – which provides practical know-how to protect the personal information on personal and work devices.
Each module takes up to 10 minutes, so the remote working bundle can even be completed during a lunch break.
The modules include informative videos, tips from Cybsafe’s cyber security experts, true-to-life examples of attacks and risks, and practical exercises to test knowledge and ingrain positive security behaviours. Registrants also gain access to CybSafe Assist and Protect tools, which helps to put good security behaviours into practice and provides answers for common security questions.
Basingstoke-based cybersecurity firm Infosec Cloud has created a Coronavirus-specific training course to help UK organisations avoid phishing scams.
ImmuniWeb is offering $500,000 worth of cybersecurity solutions for free to qualifying companies during the Covid-19 crisis.
To qualify, a UK small business must have existed for at least two years with less than 30 per cent of revenue stemming from online sales in 2019 and with plans for 70 per cent of revenue shifting online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The following software packages are available for qualifying small businesses:
- ImmuniWeb® Discovery
- ImmuniWeb® On-Demand
- ImmuniWeb® MobileSuite
Eligible businesses should send an email with the following:
- Briefly describe your shift to the online space (timing, scope, needs)
- List your web or mobile apps, cloud or SaaS systems
- Make sure you indicate your full contact details
- ImmuniWeb will get back to you within the next 24 hours
Kaspersky has made its core endpoint security products free for medical organisations. This will enable healthcare professionals to keep surgeries and hospitals protected from cyberthreats during the Covid-19 crisis.
For six months, the following products will be available for free:
- Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud Plus
- Kaspersky Security for Microsoft Office 365
- Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business Advanced
- Kaspersky Hybrid Cloud Security
For more detailed information about the offering and its availability please visit Kaspersky business blog and contact Kaspersky or its resellers.
NatWest’s free standalone digital business account, Mettle, announced that they are offering cloud accounting software FreeAgent free of charge to freelancers, sole traders and smaller businesses.
Businesses who sign up to link their Mettle and FreeAgent accounts will save at least £150 a year – the minimum cost of an annual FreeAgent subscription.
Deliveroo has introduced a new daily payment service to boost cash for their restaurant partners.
Restaurants will now be able to receive money made from deliveries within a day, instantly improving the case flow of thousands of restaurants across the UK.
This new service is available to restaurants completely free of charge. Deliveroo will cover the increased banking charges for the rapid payments.
Responding to the needs of restaurants at this challenging time, Deliveroo has also:
- Dropped onboarding fees for new restaurants
- Created online marketing tools for restaurants to notify customers that they are available for delivery services
- Established teams of people across the business to support restaurants who want to be able to deliver
- Launched a micro-site for restaurant partners which provides information and links for accessing government funding and help on how to operate during the COVID-19 crisis
- Developed a new ‘contact-free delivery’ feature in the app so that customers can be confident that deliveries from restaurants are conducted safely
- Published best practice guidelines for converting existing restaurants into delivery-only operations
- Shared expert advice and guidance on how to operate safely during the outbreak
- Campaigned for more support for restaurants from government
- Launched a new campaign #HereToDeliver to support the restaurant jobs
Cloud-based HCM platform Cornerstone OnDemand has launched a free online learning platform Cornerstone Cares in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The portal features dedicated learning courses, tools and general information on topics including:
- Coronavirus – supporting infection prevention and control
- Stress management – promoting self-care and how to manage stress
- Working from home – Helping you be productive while working from home.
Home networking solution Ericom is offering free 60-day licences for its Ericom AccessNow and Ericom Connect remote access solutions, covering the first 100 users of your small business. The software makes it easy to access office desktops, software and networks when working from home on any Mac, PC or tablet using any standard web browser.
FlashStart has decided to offer its service, at no-cost for a three-month period, directly to home-workers, students and families via direct access from its website. The solution requires no software downloads and uses just a simple configuration change in any home cable / DSL router making it compatible with all UK ISP’s services including BT, Virgin, TalkTalk and Sky Broadband.
Midlands-based online learning provider Improve Online is offering a free taster course to help remote workers upskill.
The free introduction course, which is available to anyone through the Improve Online website, features useful hints and tips on how to work from home effectively and efficiently, including advice on how to boost productivity, utilise key communication tools and keep employees engaged.
The course also includes information to help SMEs keep their employees safe while working from home, including working safely with display screen equipment (DSE) and employee wellbeing.
E-learning provider Learning Pool has made its online course to help small businesses make the transition to home working free for 90 days.
The extensive CPD-accredited content will include advice for:
- Managing safety issues
- Conference call etiquette
- Remote working – and managing those remote working
- Dealing with stress
- Managing your wellbeing
- Improve productivity
- Avoiding misinformation during this climate
AI-powered receptionist service Moneypenny is offering its digital switchboard service for free to help businesses get through the coronavirus pandemic. Digital Switchboard uses AI voice technology that answers high volumes of calls and fields them to the right people in your company without the need for a receptionist.
Wundamail is giving away its work-from-home software to any business free for one month.
This software is designed to replicate the daily stand-up meeting in the Agile Method, condensing team activity into a single, daily email. There is no need to install any new software, making it suitable for emergency remote working, at short notice.
Health and safety technology company SafetyCulture has made its iAuditor product freely available to all UK businesses during the coronavirus crisis. The app and digital platform helps business leaders and their HR teams manage the administrative and compliance challenges of having a suddenly remote workforce. iAuditor allows staff to complete their own home office inspections in minutes. Employees simply need to download the app through the iPhone App Store or Google Play store.
Sales, Marketing and PR
Awin is waiving monthly fees for its affiliate programme for startups – Awin Access – for the first three months for businesses looking to launch, allowing them to try out the platform and a risk-free marketing strategy.
Awin Access opens up affiliate marketing to emerging digital businesses, enabling them to use Awin’s intuitive platform to build direct partnerships with over 200,000 vetted affiliates. With no setup costs or lengthy contract terms, Awin Access removes barriers traditionally preventing SMEs and small businesses from affiliate marketing.
Integration is simplified with a selection of plugins for common e-ommerce platforms such as Shopify, meaning a programme can be created within a day if a quick launch were to be required.
Artificial intelligence lab EBI.AI is offering its AI-powered customer service chatbot for free to small businesses for four months. The CoronaBot is designed to help companies manage the increased and fluctuating number of customer calls caused by the current emergency.
CoronaBot is pre-trained to answer the most commonly asked questions being asked to take pressure off companies with growing contact volumes and shrinking customer service teams such as, “Are you operating normally?”, “Do you provide a delivery service?”, “Is there a click and collect service?”, “Is it safe to get products delivered?” and “How do I contact you?”.
Find Tasty is a new website that has been created to help small independent food and drink suppliers connect with customers in the time of the Covid-19 lockdown. Customers online can search by location, food or drink, or special dietary needs, as well as essential household goods such as cleaning products and pet food. The nationwide directory website has been launched by Helen Forsyth and Richard Forsyth, who also run Wiltshire-based marketing company Find Marketing.
Website builder GoDaddy is giving away access to its email marketing tools to help small business owners keep their employees and customers informed.
The platform has also launched the #OpenWeStand microsite to help small business owners connect with each other and find resources to assist them during this very difficult time. The site is made up of a community forum, articles, videos and examples of entrepreneurs adapting their businesses to stay open.
This is a voluntary site run by digital marketers helping small businesses get online during the coronavirus pandemic, answering their questions about website building and e-commerce.
Digital marketing agency POD Digital is offering small business customers free consultations and strategic advice for businesses being directly affected by covid-19. The Leicestershire and London-based digital marketing agency covers web design, SEO, paid search as part of its offering.
Image library Shutterstock has created a resource hub with creative assets to connect with customers. It includes:
- Free images, videos, and music for those who might be expanding their business online
- Curated collections for addressing the pandemic
- Free virtual background packs to make your home office look professional
Stampede, a start-up offering digital growth services for the hospitality sector, has launched a free managed gift-card service for businesses impacted by Covid-19 to help them recover lost income quickly and create a continuous new revenue stream.
Stampede gift cards is a fully managed service, which means that a traditional pub or small local café with no ecommerce functionality can launch a website, create and issue gift cards to their customer database and start accepting payments immediately.
Three Phase Goods
Norwich-based web designer Bruce Sigrist has created a how-to guide to setting up your own e-commerce platform. It’s an easy-to-follow, digestible checklist that requires no coding knowledge. Included are real case studies from forward-thinking businesses, plus how to set up an online store in an afternoon.
The Write Impression
The Write Impression (TWI), a marketing and PR agency based in Suffolk, is offering all businesses a free resource to help them effectively communicate updates on the coronavirus pandemic to their staff and customers.
The PR agency is offering downloadable PDFs on its website, with more communications becoming available as and when advice from the government changes.
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees that are helping contain the spread of Covid-19, or providing relief to those impacted, can use email management platform Hiver for free till June 30 2020.
To qualify, you must fall under the following categories:
- First responders (paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officials, etc.)
- Public health officials
- Food/grocery delivery services
- Groups along the COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supply chain
- Any other non-political humanitarian effort
Yorkshire-based analytics platform Panintelligence is offering its data monitor platform for free for 90 days.
The platform helps small businesses react to real-time monitoring to make decisions quickly. Its dashboard improves reporting and delivers ROI for a range of sectors – including finance, insurance, education and healthcare.
To help support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, SEOTesting.com will be free for all to use for a minimum of three months, with users able to add as many sites as they like.
Surrey-based digital agency Sonin is offering a free online beginner’s course in coding. Small business owners who want to learn how to code will taught by the firm’s team of iOS and Android developers how to build an app from scratch.
Skrill, the online payments company, is offering its wallet and Quick Checkout solution free of charge to the many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) around the world which are providing products or services supporting communities during the COVID-19 outbreak. These include food and grocery delivery services, providers of protective wear, educational services and online conferencing solutions.
The move, which will be in effect until at least September 30, 2020, will particularly support the small businesses which have had to digitise their companies for the first time at speed.
Sidetrade is opening its accounts receivable platform for free to SMEs. Driven by machine-learning algorithms, CashControl has unique features, such as unlimited digital dunning letters, and automatic installment payment scheduling for difficult cases.
StoreKit has produced free software for independent restaurants, shops, and other businesses, to transform themselves into online cash stores during the pandemic.
The Rehire Project
Workforce management company Talon has created a new initiative to support organisations that are suffering: The Rehire Project.
This new online platform is a communication tool enabling organisations to update the staff they’ve had to furlough or lay off with news posts and status updates on company progress and rehiring prospects during this time.
It also delivers automated check-ins for the company to monitor availability and commence rehiring instantly when business picks up.
The Rehire Project is free for small businesses, charities and the public sector, with larger organisations paying a nominal fee to help support the service for all users. Any profit made during the crisis will be donated to the NHS Charities COVID-19 Urgent Appeal and the World Health Organisation.
Freelance career platform UnderPinned will offer its services for free until September to help ease financial pressures facing millions of freelancers as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The offer will give new and existing members full access to UnderPinned’s Virtual Office platform and every feature in the essential plan – offering a saving of £54. This includes everything from a portfolio and proposal builder to project management tools and an automated invoice system. Members will also be offered a Covid-19 special resource, outlining available support and providing advice on how to diversify and improve revenue streams.
Zoho Corporation, the business software apps provider, has launched its Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP) to help small business during the coronavirus pandemic.
Zoho is waiving the cost of every single application used by up to 20,000 qualifying paying customers with 25 employees or less for up to three months.
All the major broadband providers have agreed with government to remove all data allowance caps on all current fixed broadband services.
- Virgin Media
Vodafone is today extending free access to unlimited mobile data for six months for NHS workers and vulnerable customers, and adding the UK’s care workers to those eligible to claim the offer. The extension follows Vodafone’s original offer, announced on 6 April, of 30 days’ unlimited free data for NHS staff, vulnerable customers and half a million Pay Monthly customers.
The offer will be valid for six months from the date of redemption and we will provision all NHS staff applications and the first 250,000 care workers who apply. The offer will be open until 6th June 2020, which means eligible applicants could be benefitting from unlimited free data until 5th December.
The network will also be providing Unlimited Business Broadband and Microsoft 365 Business Standard free for small business owners over the next six months, including those who are already in contract with Vodafone.
Avado, the professional academy, has released 36 hours of free online learning courses to the public on topics including leadership and change management.
BCG Digital Ventures
BCG Digital Ventures and Founders4Schools have launched Digital Boost, a service which connects small businesses and charities with digital expert volunteers to boost their skills.
Dun & Bradstreet
Business information company Dun & Bradstreet is offering a free Business Essentials package to small businesses in the UK to help mitigate risk and restart growth. For three months, small businesses will be able to use the following solutions for free:
- D&B Credit Essentials – to monitor credit rating of their own business and others, often used to inform funding decisions, and as a tool to identify risk
- D&B Hoovers Lite – to gain access to critical data and analytics that can help their sales teams make smarter decisions on how to prioritise their prospecting and retention efforts, and identify new customers to target
HERE WeGo Deliver allows businesses to plan and dispatch a delivery without software development or implementation costs. Users simply upload all their order destinations and number of drivers to the online planning dashboard, and HERE WeGo Deliver optimises each route and delivery sequence. Drivers can receive their delivery route by email. HERE WeGo is available to download for free on Android and iOS mobile devices. It’s free until the end of 2020.
Recruitment firm Kelly has teamed up with experts at CoachPro to offer freelancers and gig economy workers free online training and careers advice. The Kelly CoachPro app, developed by Stephen Gribben, is available free of charge for the first three months and provides comprehensive career assessment, identifies areas where training could help, and offers ways to achieve greater work fulfillment and reach career goals.
Kemp Little has launched a free advisory resource to help businesses navigate tax, legal and financial processes thrown into discord by coronavirus.
The Covid-19 Toolkit gives comprehensive advice on issues such as data protection, corporate governance, IP, contracts and people management for founders, SMEs and big business owners.
Kalra Legal Group (KLG Law) has an entire section dedicated to the legal implications of coronavirus. Learn how to navigate annual leave, maternity leave and more.
Leyton, the UK’s leading innovation funding specialist, has announced that it is providing a free R&D tax service to companies that are repurposing to support the COVID-19 effort. This advice will help businesses to facilitate crucial cash flow, reclaim against costs such as staffing and consumables and claim the full tax relief which they are eligible to receive.
Sparqa Legal provides customisable documents and contracts and thousands of legal answers for businesses written by lawyers. It is making all of its Covid-19 resources available for free including practical guides for employers during the outbreak, customisable furlough letter templates and Coronavirus risk assessments.
Stand for Local
Stand for Local have created a new non-profit initiative called #StandForLocal. The campaign supplies small business owners with social media resources, links to financial support for businesses and printable posters.
The Prince’s Responsible Business Network
Business in the Community – The Prince’s Responsible Business Network with over 750 companies in membership, have launched the National Business Response Network to identify community needs across the UK and match them to the right business support.
Through Business in the Community’s vast regional and local connections and leaders on the ground, the National Business Response Network identifies national and local community needs from community groups, schools, local authorities, local resilience bodies, charities and alliances such as the British Red Cross Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership and small businesses. The network then connects business resources to meet the following needs:
• Food: Ensuring people have continued access to food.
• Technology: Support to enable children to continue learning, and older people to stay connected to families.
• Social care: Support to vulnerable groups and older people to enable continued access to food, healthcare, social interaction and other essentials.
• Small businesses: Creating resources with advice and practical tools specifically for small businesses; providing business continuity and wellbeing support through mentoring for small businesses.
The business resources we will be matching to community needs are:
• Professional support: Using the untapped resources and goodwill of our member companies to provide human resource to support communities in the UK.
• Lending/donating resources: Lending or donating resources to organisations and people to meet need.
• Logistics: Transportation of people, goods and services.
Toyota and Lexus
Toyota and Lexus are partnering with the AA to provide the UK’s key workers who drive Toyota or Lexus vehicles with free roadside assistance cover, regardless of how old their car or van might be.
Toyota and Lexus are extending the full benefits of roadside assistance cover to all key workers who own a Toyota or Lexus. Working in partnership with the AA, they are providing the cover regardless of whether motorists previously had Toyota Roadside Assistance or Lexus Roadside Assistance membership.
Article Published in Small Business on 5th June 2020.