THE body that promotes Dorset’s digital and creative industries has launched a new initiative to help businesses survive the coronavirus crisis.

Silicon South has “ditched” its preivous plans for the next year and is putting together free “founders’ groups” to support firms.

The groups will see founders of organisations of similar size come together to share experience and ideas.

Anthony Story, director of Silicon South, said its board had signed off on a one-year strategy when the coronavirus crisis worsened drastically.

“I’ve ditched the Silicon South business plan and we’ll put everything into providing support that might help Bournemouth and Dorset companies survive this,” he said.

The founders’ groups will be usse the video conferencing software Zoom so that groups of five to seven founders can compare notes and exchange ideas.

“It’s been a bit of a frantic week and everyone has wondered ‘What on earth are we doing here?’” said Mr Story.

“A lot of our sector has unfortunately been hit and many have had conversations with clients who are pulling out left, right and centre and it’s left everyone with a high degree of uncertainty.”

The groups will have hour-long meetings in which every member has the chance to discuss concerns, ideas and challenges.

“They’ll be facilitated by someone who’s involved and they will be able to guide the conversation and make sure there’s an equal chance to talk but also be able to offer some of their experience if they want,” said Mr Story.

Silicon South will pay for the sessions itself for as long as it can.

Each group will last for six sessions, after which members will be invited to join a new group.

Details are at