Small businesses who have been forced to close premises or scale back their operations through the COVID-19 pandemic can build a new online presence free of charge thanks to a North East digital specialist.

Joshua Tulip has created a package of support for the region’s small business community to help them exploit the benefits of being online during the current hugely challenging period, which has forced many businesses with premises to temporarily close their doors.

Joshua, a well-known North East digital specialist, has launched his digital resource centre via his website, joshuatulip.com, which offers a series of free resources including graphic design, advice and support, including links to various grants and reliefs which may be available, as well as the creation of a basic website, which could allow business to continue for many.

Businesses which have been directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and do not have the resources to create a digital presence themselves can apply to take advantage of the support on offer, with access to expertise from entrepreneur Joshua, who is also founder of the UK’s largest further education course finder, enrol.co.uk. 

Joshua said: “As the uncertainty surrounding Coronavirus unfolds, many business owners are of course worried about what the future holds for them and the business they have worked so hard to establish and grow. This will be especially true for those who operate a bricks and mortar business and have not previously had to depend on digital trade as a means to make ends meet.

“I was talking to a local business owner who said they had lost 30% of their business almost instantaneously following the outbreak and that they could be in serious trouble if there are closures for weeks. It got me thinking about all of the fantastic small independent businesses we have in our region which don’t have websites or contingency if there was suddenly no footfall.

“Through this digital resource centre, businesses can access a host of information and expertise, and by getting online and establishing an online presence, they could reconnect with existing customers from whom they had previously had to be separated, as well as connecting with new ones. From what may currently seem a dire situation, there could be opportunities waiting and I would be delighted to help people find those by opening their eyes to digital possibilities.”

Joshua, a consultant with AGY47, said he was inspired to offer his expertise free of charge after seeing the widespread effect of COVID-19.

“My grandad has just turned 80 and I was wondering what the older generation do if they don’t have anyone to support them during these difficult times. I volunteered at a local group to pick things up or drop things off for the elderly or vulnerable but I just wanted to do more,” he said.

“I think during times like these, we have to stick together, and that is what we are known for in the North East, helping each other out. I would like to play my part in supporting businesses in the region through using my knowledge and skills to help them find a way through the difficult current situation.”

Any business which would like to apply for a package of digital support should visit joshuatulip.com