Nottingham bead shop founder stars in BT and Google campaign

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The founder bead shop in Nottingham is fronting a new social media campaign to help kick-start small businesses’ post-pandemic recovery.

Hana Glover, who co-founded The Bead Shop on Market Street more than 20 years ago, has been selected from the thousands of small businesses who have used BT and Google’s free digital skills training, to help raise awareness of the resources available to help small businesses optimise and accelerate their adoption of digital technologies.

The purple-fronted shop has long played host to workshops and community activities but when Covid-19 struck and Glover had to close her doors, she needed to find new ways to stay connected with her customers.

Taking guidance from BT and Google’s free online webinars on how to build a brand and use social media to connect people online, she organised online beadcraft workshops and set up a weekly newsletter to inspire and entertain her followers with craft projects they could do at home.

Glover said “Before the pandemic we already had a website and were trading online, but necessity forced us to innovate, and that meant developing new skills. Besides keeping my business going, I was keen to help tackle lockdown loneliness so I mastered how to set up webinars and use social media to grow our community, and made sure that our online events were free and available to anyone. Among the participants was my daughter’s friend, who is clinically vulnerable and was isolating at home, so the workshops helped keep that friendship alive too. Taking the time to learn new skills was good for me both professionally and personally. It gave me a different focus, it gave me lots of ideas, and it’s definitely benefited the business.”

Glover, who has opened up a coffee area in the shop, added: “Online business is down by a third due to the loss of customers in the EU, so my next goal is to use BT and Google’s one-to-one digital skills mentoring to learn how to optimise my website and grow online sales.”

Ronan Harris, Google’s UK MD, said: ”We’re proud to partner with BT and the participating business leaders on this inspirational program. Equipping small businesses with the digital tools needed to grow and succeed, is not only integral to future proofing the UK business landscape but it’s the next step in the UK’s journey to economic recovery. We’re committed to making sure shared knowledge and digital skills are as accessible as possible and make a lasting impact for the entrepreneurs of the future.”

Chris Sims, BT’s MD for its SoHo (Single/Small Office, Home Office) unit, said: “Our partnership with Google comes from a shared vision and commitment to help small businesses harness digital as a driver of growth and prosperity. Through our free mentoring programme and digital skills training, we’re aiming to equip small firms with the skills and knowledge required to succeed in a digital world. BT initiatives, including one-to-one mentorships, have already boosted the digital literacy of almost 300,000 small business employees to date and our partnership with Google is helping us significantly extend our reach and impact within the small business community.”