In the spring Nottingham City Council and the Creative Quarter Company will be launching a new business support scheme to improve digital connectivity.
Called CQ Connect the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funded programme will be open to firms based in the Creative Quarter to enable them to improve digital connectivity in order to develop their businesses. The programme is aimed at supporting SME’s in the Creative Quarter.
CQ Connect will consist of up to £3,000 per business for digital vouchers, plus a programme of technology grants. Grants will be allocated to those who can make the case that it will enable them to meet their business development needs. They will be assessed following a technical evaluation, funded by the project, of the requirements of each applicant.
Vouchers will be provided for businesses to enhance their connectivity and grants will be offered to help businesses upgrade their office networks to make better use of improved connectivity. The project is funded through ERDF which specifically exclude funding going to retail facilities so retail businesses will not be able to apply. However the scheme should benefit the host of small to medium sized businesses based in the area’s offices and co-working spaces, while retail businesses will benefit from improvements to the BT network with work beginning at the end of this year. Once launched, the fund will run until December 2015.
In order to deliver the scheme effectively and bring maximum benefit to businesses the Creative Quarter Company, in partnership with Nottingham City Council, are undertaking a survey to understand as fully as possible the current broadband provision as well as any connectivity or technical issues. Opinions are being sought on the ways in which businesses would like improved broadband to assist business development.
Craig Chettle, Managing Director of the Confetti Media Group said: “Connectivity is essential for the creative industry and we continue to benefit from having Ultraband. When working on Channel 4’s This is England, we were able to transfer hours and hours of footage in just 20 minutes. This is game-changing, it levels the playing field ensuring that businesses based all over the country can compete with companies in London and further afield.”
All CQ-located businesses (with the exception of retail) are being invited to complete a short survey to determine how the fund can best support broadband needs. The survey is being distributed via the Creative Quarter website and direct to businesses based in the area and relevant businesses are being urged to complete it.
Portfolio Holder for Jobs, Skills and Business Councillor Nick McDonald added “This survey is a great opportunity to hear opinions on the connectivity issues businesses currently have and what benefit greater Broadband provision could have on the development and growth of SME’s in the Creative Quarter. This survey acts as an invitation for businesses to participate now, ahead of a new business support fund to be launched in 2014.”
If your business is based in the Creative Quarter and you would like to participate in the survey log onto http://www.creativequarter.com/news/calling-cq-businesses/ Deadline for responses is 24th February. All survey respondents will be invited to a Creative Quarter briefing event about the scheme. All queries to: email@example.com