Grafenia offers £50k of grants to 100 Nettl customers

Simon Nias
Friday, December 19, 2014

Grafenia is offering £50,000 worth of grants to SMEs looking to develop their online presence through its new cross-media franchise, Nettl.

The grant offer was launched on 10 December following the unveiling of the government's 'Do More Online' campaign, which is delivering £2m of funding to Local Enterprise Partnerships to help micro-businesses and sole traders grow their online presence.

To qualify, SMEs must contact their local Nettl franchise (of which there are currently four, in Birmingham, Manchester, Dublin and London) before 23 December to book a free one-hour consultation.

The first 100 businesses to book will be eligible for a £500 grant towards a Nettl:Commerce online webshop or, in the case of print SMEs, the same discount on a 12-month W3Shop contract, following their consultation.

Peter Gunning, chief technology officer of Grafenia, said Nettl:Commerce was one of three tiers of web design offered by Nettl and was aimed at small businesses (from any sector) that want to sell online.

"Nettl:Commerce is a bespoke e-commerce site for small businesses [and] where it fits best is with businesses that have both an offline and online presence that they want to integrate to offer things like click and collect," he said.

He added that a typical Nettl:Commerce package would cost from around £2,500, versus around £1,500-£2,000 for Nettl:Connect (which is aimed at service businesses that don't sell products online but want to do things like take bookings) and £700 for a simple 'brochure-site' build that is optimised for both desktop and mobile devices.

Gunning stressed that print "is still an important part of what we do" but added that "the world has moved on quite considerably since we started Printing.com".

"Print is still a big part of the Nettl proposition but it's not the first thing on the client's mind anymore - the most important thing these days is their online presence, so we need to be part of that relationship," he said.

"Nettl is the place you go to as a small business owner once you've outgrown what you can do yourself with an off-the-shelf website builder; when SMEs reach that stage they tend to sort that process locally by going to one of the 5,000 or so local web designers in the UK.

"But, similarly to high-street print in the early days of Printing.com, web design is a highly fragmented market and we're trying to establish a national brand and to help SMEs to start selling online and to pre-solve a lot of the issues in terms of integrating e-commerce with their existing EPOS system.

"Things like click and collect are becoming essential for small businesses, but would be very hard to develop themselves on their own budget."

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