Companies keen to widen their digital reach and impact are to benefit from a £7.2million funding package, through the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and its partners.
The D2N2 Digital Business Growth Programme, set to launch next month (January 2017) and run for three years, is due to help around 850 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the D2N2 LEP area over that period, to make better use of digital connectivity to expand their businesses.
D2N2 – the private sector-led partnership which promotes economic and jobs’ growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – wants to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in a wide range of commercial sectors to make better use of their current digital and online marketing techniques, or develop new ones, to improve their business performance and productivity.
A £3.6m investment will come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) portion of D2N2’s larger €250million allocation of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF); which is EU funding to spent over six years (up to 2020) on projects which help SMEs be more competitive and expand their operations.
This project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 in England.
Matched funding of £3.6m for the programme will come from Nottinghamshire County, Nottingham City, Derbyshire County, Derby City and Rushcliffe Borough councils; Nottingham’s Creative Quarter Company and East Midlands Chamber. Some of the partners will also deliver the programme for businesses.
Activities will include:
- A small grant scheme aimed at supporting businesses in exploiting their existing technology solutions or with the introduction of new systems and software to assist with the implementation of new digital resources, in order to improve business performance and productivity.
- Raising companies’ awareness of new digital technology products and services; which could help them be more competitive and productive, and grow.
- Free workshops and seminars (similar to pictured) designed to showcase how new and emerging technologies are transforming business operations through focusing on big data, digital marketing, e-commerce, ‘The Internet of Things’, cloud computing and on ensuring cyber security. At least 48 seminars will be delivered across the D2N2 LEP area over the project’s lifespan.
- 340 free business workshops to be run on practical steps around website development, e-marketing, systems integration and other ICT matters.
- Digital Conference events to be held in November 2017 and April 2019, for 300 to 500 visitors each, which will include high profile speakers, Q&A panel sessions, and demonstration events where visitors can try out technology and talk to experts.
- A one-to-one digital skills and advice service for companies looking to put into action the direction they’ve decided to take with ICT. This will include up to ten days of onsite expert support for businesses implementing their development plan. At least 350 businesses will be supported.
Peter Richardson, Chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Few business sectors can do without a digital presence and marketing strategy but many smaller firms find establishing one a daunting prospect.
“Through this significant investment in the D2N2 Digital Business Growth Programme, the D2N2 LEP and its partners will aim to address businesses’ needs.”
Councillor Diana Meale, Chair of the Economic Development Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, added: “Through the ongoing Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire and Digital Derbyshire programmes, we’re putting digital infrastructure in place which is amongst the best in the UK. But if the area is going to drive home the full economic benefits of having better broadband, we need to support businesses to explore and introduce new and emerging ICT products and services.
“The D2N2 Digital Growth programme, which we are proud to be delivering in partnership with the East Midlands Chamber, gives businesses new commercial opportunities to boost their competitiveness and productivity; helping to drive economic growth across the D2N2 area.”
The new programme complements D2N2’s announcement earlier this month (December) that a £4.9m project – branded ‘The Big House’ – would be helping creative and digital businesses (see web link www.d2n2lep.org/News/49m-to-help-creative-and-digital-businesses-develop ) to expand; and the £4.8m D2N2 has already put into Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire and Digital Derbyshire, the ongoing county schemes to expand domestic and business properties’ access to faster broadband.
For more information on the D2N2 Digital Business Growth Programme contact Oliver Whittaker, Economic Development Officer in Nottinghamshire County Council’s Economic Development team, on 0115 977 2330 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about how the D2N2 LEP is using its €250million in European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to help businesses and grow its area’s economy see the LEP’s website at www.d2n2lep.org/EUFunding
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