A WEEK of free online events will seek to help Dorset businesspeople grow and sustain their companies through digital knowhow.

Digital Week, which runs from June 22-26, is aimed at both one-person businesses and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Businesses will be able to “dip in” to a series of talks put on by Dorset Growth Hub in partnership with Silicon South.

Subjects under discussion include digital innovation and manufacturing, marketing and e-commerce.

Rich Burn, digital manager at Dorset Growth Hub, said the event followed a series of 10 webinars called Adapting With Digital and a digital summit conducted over Zoom.

“We took that idea and spread it across a week to allow people a chance to dip in and out,” said Mr Burn.

“The overriding question was how many businesses could we get to and try to help them?”

Subjects under discussion include Facebook shops, with Darren Baker, founder of Click Digital; podcasting, with Kelly Butler of Podcast Labs; a panel on digital transformation, with Anthony Story of Silicon South; the future of fibre connectivity, with James Hobson of City Fibre and Colin Parnell of Centre VR; and the story of a digital entrepreneur, with Matt Turner of Creative Group.

Around 110 business people have already signed up for sessions and Mr Burn said there was no limit on the number who could attend.

“We have some sessions that are aimed at micro-businesses, the one man or woman band which is predominantly what Dorset is,” he said.

“We tried to appeal to those different audiences. Those one man or woman businesses can get lots of inspiration from those companies that have grown. They are full of ideas and enthusiasm that will rub off on people who have been doing it already and maybe are a bit jaded and tired.”

Dorset Growth Hub recently had another two years of funding awarded from the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund, despite Brexit. It hopes online events like Digital Week can raise the profile of the county and help attract future funding.

Although most of the speakers are local and most of the spaces are reserved for local businesses, there are some spots reserved for people outside Dorset. Mr Burn hopes this will help promote the county outside the area.

“We’re starting to reach outside Dorset, which is a huge plus in terms of engagement,” he said.

“We’re not targeted at reaching those people, but what it does is puts Dorset on the map for further funding if we can broaden out horizons and connect and reach people.”

“It raises the profile of Dorset as a place to come and do business,” he added.

Details are at digitalweek.dorsetgrowthhub.co.uk