Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Amazon, Enterprise Nation launch COVID-19 support package to assist ailing UK startups

Businesses and new ventures hit by COVID-19 could benefit from a new training scheme and support network.

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Amazon and Enterprise Nation have launched a support network and training scheme to assist small businesses in the UK disrupted by the novel coronavirus outbreak

On Tuesday, Amazon and London-based Enterprise Nation -- an umbrella organization to bring together SMBs in the United Kingdom -- said that the Amazon Small Business Accelerator has been designed in support of companies affected by COVID-19.

COVID-19 has forced businesses to either close down their operations or have a rapid re-think of how to operate without open premises and within the confines of social distancing. For many, this has led to a need to go online and explore deliveries, mobile apps, and alternative, remote services -- from doctors making the transition to telehealth platforms to pubs offering online drink deliveries, or consultancy firms moving away from the boardroom to meetings conducted through videoconferencing tools. 

Up to 200,000 startups, SMBs, and emerging initiatives could benefit from the UK program, which includes a free training scheme for "businesses at every stage" that are trying to establish themselves online. 

The Amazon Small Business Accelerator begins with a diagnostic test and then advice and support is tailored depending on the business's current stage and challenges in the pandemic landscape. 

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Bootcamps are on offer for participants with a focus on helping ventures create a strong, online presence while they cope with the impact of COVID-19. The week-long courses will aim to give companies the tools to get started with trading online and are suitable for organizations in health, beauty, food, drink, and leisure, among other industries. 

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Amazon and Enterprise Nation also hope to encourage local networking and will provide a year of support from advisors in marketing, finances, and operations, as well as keynotes by entrepreneurs. On Amazon's side -- perhaps in a bid to encourage adoption of Amazon Business B2B products -- the e-commerce giant will also offer discounts on business supplies and PPE. 

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"Coronavirus has presented serious challenges for start-ups and SMEs, and never have more businesses called out for help, particularly with getting online," said Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation. "This package of critical support will include tailored guidance for start-ups, recovery advice, and then tools for growth to help businesses weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side."

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