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.

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