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London Chamber of Commerce and IndustryLondon Chamber of Commerce and Industry
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Businesses need help to prosper in London's digital economy

Thursday 19 November

Businesses need help to prosper in London's digital economy

  • A quarter of London businesses have no online presence at all
  • Small businesses face barriers in benefitting from the digital economy
  • LCCI calls for more support for businesses in getting connected

Small businesses and sole traders in the capital with no online presence risk falling behind in the digital economy and should be supported in being equipped with necessary digital skills, resources and infrastructure according to a new research report from London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

With the digital economy transforming how businesses can engage with customers, using online platforms is crucial for businesses to grow. However, new research conducted for LCCI by leading polling agency ComRes found that a quarter (24%) of the capital's firms have little or no online presence (such as a company website, app, or social media page), leaving them at a competitive disadvantage.

When asked about the reasons why firms without a website chose not to have one, the most common responses were that it was "not relevant to their business" (44%), followed by the "costs of setting up" (28%) and having a "lack of staff with the right skills" (14%). The survey also found that over a third (36%) of London firms are being negatively affected by slow internet speeds, highlighting the need to increase investment in the capital's superfast broadband infrastructure.

LCCI is calling for several measures to support businesses in becoming digitally connected. To support London businesses without an online presence:

The GLA could create a new business panel focused on raising awareness of the benefits of being online to sole traders and small businesses.

Government could reintroduce Growth Vouchers to enable small London firms to cover the prohibitively high costs of building a website.

LCCI is also calling for the GLA to encourage landlords and developers to include high-speed broadband connections into new office buildings in order to reduce delays in setting up high-speed internet connections in the capital.

Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of LCCI said: "Digital connectivity is an absolute necessity in the 21st century for businesses to grow.

"With many companies using the online marketplace to conduct their business, as well as using other digital platforms such as social media to connect with customers, it has never been more important to ensure that small businesses and sole traders are not left behind.

"Our findings show that there are still many businesses who are not benefitting from the digital economy. While Government and City Hall are already providing support to businesses in going online, a large number of small firms and sole traders remain offline, unable to take advantage of the benefits of operating online.

"Raising awareness of those benefits, subsidising the cost, and ensuring businesses all over the capital can obtain superfast broadband connectivity without delay can enable more London businesses to make the most of digital platforms, and realise their full growth potential."

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: "In order to remain competitive in the global economy and bolster our reputation as the greatest city on earth we need to ensure every business has access the very best digital connectivity and that all Londoners have the necessary digital skills.

"That is why last month we launched the new Digital Talent Programme which aims to nurture our tech stars of the future and are working hard to boost connectivity through a range of activities, including the recently launched rating scheme which provides businesses with a simple way to identify buildings which meet their connectivity needs.

"There is no doubt that more needs to be done to make London the best connected city and look forward to working with the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry to make that a reality."


Media contact
Sophie Mew, Policy and Public Affairs Officer
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897
M: +44 (0)7827 241528


  1. London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital's largest and most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.
  2. Colin Stanbridge is available for further comment and interview.
  3. ComRes interviewed 510 London business decision makers between 7th and 20th May 2015 online. Data was weighted to be representative of all London businesses by company size and broad industry sector. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables can be found at
  4. The Mayor of London has recently unveiled a number of digital initiatives:
  5. Launching a new Digital Talent Programme to try to ensure young Londoners aged 14 to 24 have the digital skills they need to access jobs in London's thriving technology sector.
  6. Announcing a new Connectivity Ratings Scheme with the 'Walkie Talkie' building on Fenchurch Street, the 'Cheesegrater' Leadenhall Building and City Hall signed up to be a part of the capital's first ever Connectivity Ratings Scheme. The scheme is now open for companies of all shapes and sizes.
  7. Establishing a Connectivity Advisory Group to work to work in partnership with providers to tackle the challenge of ubiquitous and affordable connectivity coverage.
  8. The full report, Capital Connected, can be accessed here