A new initiative aimed at making the UK’s smaller businesses digitally active will be launched this spring – after it was revealed just 1% use social media to increase sales.

The Digital High Street Skills Programme, run by the National Skills Academy for Retail (NSAR), in partnership with the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), aims to provide training for 3,000 people and will see skills shops and licensed trainers deliver a series of webinars, face-to-face presentations and workshops.

It launches at the Future High Street Summit in the National Space Centre, Leicester on 26 March.

Guy Douglas, ATCM digital high street programme manager, said the objective of the programme was to bridge the “digital divide” between small and large businesses.

Douglas said: “Small businesses have a huge role to play in ensuring we have thriving town and city centres across the UK. ATCM and the National Skills Academy for Retail have worked together, and with town centre and retail experts, to develop the exciting content for the programme.”

Citing research from Hibu, the web developer and digital publisher, the ATCM said 37% of SMEs still do not have a website. Additionally, statistics from management consultancy Booz & Company highlighted that just 1% of UK SMEs are using social media to generate revenue, missing out on an estimated £18.8bn in turnover growth.