RealTime IT News

Virgin Aims to Put More UK Small Businesses on the Net

In an effort to increase the number of small businesses on the Net, Richard Branson's Virgin group Thursday launched a new company called Virgin Biznet.

The company's avowed aim is to double the number of the Web-present small businesses in the UK from 100,000 to 200,000 in a year.

Incredibly, despite the enormous growth of the Internet in the UK, 97 per cent of the smallest companies have still not created a Web site. Virgin Biznet believes that demand for Web sites among small businesses is about to explode.

"Our research supports the view that Britain's small business bosses do want to go online," said Mylene Curtis, managing director, Virgin Biznet.

"Companies recognise the benefits of entering cyberspace, but are put off by the perceived technical complexities and costs, and simply do not have the time to develop a professionally designed web site. Because of this millions of small companies are missing out on lucrative business opportunities."

Richard Branson claimed that Virgin Biznet was the only company in the UK currently specialising in helping small businesses remove the barriers to getting on the Internet through an easy-to-use online service.

The Virgin offering comes in two classes: a standard and a platinum service. The all-in deal provides expert consultancy, a company domain name, Internet access, 50 e-mail addresses, search engine registration, e-commerce software with order and payment system, and full reporting.

Prices for the Virgin Biznet service start at £149.95 ($240) set up, plus £29.95 ($48) per month depending upon the level of package chosen.