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Martha Lane Fox hits caps lock, yells at small biz websites

UK web champ thinks Blighty can do better online

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Martha Lane Fox, known affectionately as the "Government Digital Champion", has announced (another) initiative to get Brits online: "an exciting vision" called Go ON UK.

Launching Go ON today, Lastminute.com co-founder Lane Fox said that she wanted to "make the UK the world’s most digitally capable nation where no one – old or disadvantaged and no organisation – even the smallest – is left behind".

Sharing striking similarities with Lane Fox's previous campaign to get Brits online, Go On (go-on.co.uk), the new movement Go ON UK (go-on-uk.org) has a new emphasis on web use in small businesses, as well as more capital letters in its title. The new initiative is backed – and funded by – a handful of businesses and charities across the UK economy. It's also part of the gov's Race Online 2012 project.

Age UK, BBC, Big Lottery Fund (BIG), E.ON, Lloyds Banking Group, Post Office Limited and TalkTalk have all pledged money and expertise to help Go ON achieve its twin goals of improving web use in small biz and getting the 8.4 million adults who have never used the internet online.

Lane Fox said that though many small companies have websites, only 14 per cent have transactional websites – ones that allow them to sell products or services online. Approximately half a million SMEs feel that a lack of digital skills is slowing the growth of their businesses, she claims, citing a Lloyds Banking Group survey from April 2012.

Small businesses that do go online grow twice as fast as their competitors, according to a McKinsey survey from 2011.

Lane Fox also said that ICT skills in the charity sector were in seriously short supply.

The campaign's concrete goals include the drawing up of a national plan of action by September 2012, outlining "activities" for the first 18 months as well as its "vision for 2020". It also aims to do more research into the effects of web use.

UK biz bods have been encouraged to become Go ON partners (more here). ®

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