The online platform by Skype called 'Skype in the workplace' (SITW) will help small businesses connect with prospective partners, customers and suppliers around the world.
The new tool is free to use and makes use of the network already on Skype. Small businesses can promote their services or products to new connections and networks.
The platform allows users to establish new connections by instant messages or meeting face-to- face with business prospects on Skype.
"With more than 280 million connected users each month, Skype offers a huge range of contacts for the small business community," said Ural Cebeci, Head of SMB Marketing at Skype. "We aim to connect millions of small businesses with Skype in the workspace and believe that by taking advantage of this shared network, businesses can develop the range of tools they need to grow, regardless of location or industry. From the designer in San Francisco looking to source textile suppliers in Thailand, to the London consultant connecting with clients in Milan, the possibilities are endless."
The new workspace also offers a hub for startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs to connect with coaches and consultants to help them grow their businesses. Users can join the community through their existing Skype accounts and book appointments with potential customers or suppliers.
Small business owners can also have public offers on Skype by inviting members in the SITW community to live sessions in order to showcase their products or services.
The SITW community is already active as today's launch comes at the end of a six-month beta trial, which enabled 500 businesses, offering over 140 different services, to sign up, try out and test the platform.
"Reports suggest that last year over a 350,000 small businesses were started in the UK, and another claim that they contribute more than £1 billion in revenue - a core contribution to the economy," said Cebeci. "In order for these businesses to survive and grow in what is still a tough economic climate, we understand that good communication and connections are key to their success."
"This is why today we are opening the Skype in the workspace platform to the public. We feel we're helping connect businesses face-to-face with their customers and prospects, no matter where they are located. It opens up a world of opportunity for them."
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