Cumbria’s food, craft and produce businesses are to receive online training direct to their mobile phones after the success of a recent pilot by Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.
The initiative will allow rural businesses to access cutting-edge business support on mobile devices, using webinar software that allows the Chamber to deliver training online.
The test run was declared a success by Chamber chief executive Rob Johnston after more than 1,000 hours of training were delivered over four evenings in February.
Hundreds of Cumbrian business owners signed up to access live, web-based training on business topics such as Facebook, Twitter, email marketing and WordPress, allowing them to grow their profits without having to leave the house.
Rob said: “I was delighted by the instant success of our webinar pilot and it’s a process that we want to harness fast, so we can continue to provide high quality benefits to our members via their mobile devices.
“We live in exciting times and the Chamber is keen to embrace these technological changes in a way that delivers quick results for Cumbrian businesses.”
Members of the Chamber’s Made in Cumbria initiative will be able to access a live webinar every month for the next six months as a new benefit to their membership package.
The webinars will deal with topics that have been requested by members, such as improving web and social media performance, getting more publicity, effective promotion strategies and how to present products better to boost sales.
The Chamber will be using its own experts, including the respected business journalist Julian Whittle who will be giving tips and strategies on how to get better press coverage.
The webinars will also draw on the expertise available to the Chamber via its extensive network of advisers from a wide range of different industries.
Rob added: “We want to demonstrate how important our Made in Cumbria members are to the county, so we decided to provide some specialist training particularly geared to the needs of their businesses.
“We’re always ready to welcome new members who want to access the Made in Cumbria brand, and I hope that this easy-to-access initiative will encourage local businesses to really embrace the wonderful technological advantages that we now have at our fingertips.”
The 90-minute digital training sessions will be managed by Paul Teague, the Chamber’s digital development manager.
He said: “We had an amazing response to our webinar pilot, and that demonstrates a real appetite for this type of learning.
“With webinars, we cut through all the geographical problems Cumbrian businesses encounter, and the technology enables us to deliver great quality training at a time and place of attendees’ choosing.”
Webinars are not the only part of the Chamber’s digital strategy. The team has just launched a podcast channel too.
It is planned to use podcasts to deliver masterclass interviews with Cumbria’s business ‘big-hitters’ as well as creating a new communications channel for the Chamber.
To find out more about joining Made in Cumbria, contact Lesley Robinson on 0845 22 600 40.