Chloe Shakesby

WhatsApp announces Watford partnership to support small business community

A social media messaging app has announced that it is partnering with a London council to support the small business community.

WhatsApp is partnering with Watford Borough Council to create WhatsApp High Street, which will help small businesses promote themselves and connect with their customers.

The initiative will provide the businesses with free-to-use digital tools from WhatsApp to help them manage the challenges and customer questions presented by the pandemic.

The ‘first of its kind’ pilot programme has experts from WhatsApp providing training for an initial group of 12 local businesses on Market Street, training them on how to use WhatsApp to support their business.

Peter Taylor, elected mayor from Watford Borough Council, said: “I’m delighted a global brand like WhatsApp has chosen to work with us on this initiative, which is the first of its kind in the UK.

“Local businesses are vital to our economy, bringing jobs and so much character to our town.

“We are committed to working with them to ensure Watford’s economy succeeds as we open up after a difficult period of lockdown.

“Digital skills and new technology are at the heart of our plans for the borough, which is why we are helping local businesses to adapt to the new circumstances we find ourselves in.”

Paul Scully MP, minister for small business, said: “It’s great to see small businesses using innovative digital tools like WhatsApp Business to help them adjust how they engage with their customers.

“We are always keen to encourage innovative partnerships to help grow local economies, and this collaboration between WhatsApp and Watford Borough Council is a fantastic way of combining innovation, digital skills and supporting small businesses.”

Dan Lenan, WhatsApp partnerships manager, added: “As high streets all over the country struggle with the economic downturn and with the huge challenges presented by coronavirus, it is more important than ever for us all to support local businesses and keep our high streets alive and thriving.

“Whether it’s helping a retailer fulfil online orders, a restaurant to become a take away, or a beauty salon to communicate social distancing rules, the WhatsApp Business App can help people steer their business through these difficult times.

“We are very happy to partner with Watford to support their business community and to show that digital tools can support their recovery.”

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