Date: 11th December 2017
In its inaugural year of delivery, the Digital Enterprise programme has had a very busy time coping with the huge demand from the small and medium sector for our services.
The year began with the launch of our website in January, which received some very good feedback from our audience. The portal helped us to launch the full Digital Growth Voucher scheme in February– having completed a pilot scheme between October and December 2016.
The level of demand we witnessed for our Digital Growth Vouchers was unprecedented and completely unexpected. We had expected to receive around 150 applications in the first phase. Instead, we received 473 applications within 8 weeks. This level of demand led to the early closure of Phase 1, to help us deal with the backlog of. We spent the late spring and summer period supporting our client firms by processing their funding applications.
Autumn has been a period of new beginnings, with the availability of 3 new strands to our programme, launched at our first major digital conference – held in Bradford in September (with around 120 delegates in attendance). The event saw the launch of;-
- The Digital Knowledge Exchange service – an important component of the Digital Enterprise programme, offering up to 400 eligible firms the opportunity to attend workshops, masterclasses and mentoring support.
- The re-launch of the Digital Growth Voucher scheme – with up to £5000 available for digital investment projects that achieve digital transformation.
- A new Connectivity Voucher product – offering up to £1000 to eligible firms to upgrade their digital connection.
There has been a very positive response from businesses to both the Digital Knowledge Exchange and also Phase 2 of the Voucher scheme.
The Digital Knowledge Exchange has already seen 180 businesses register for the scheme in 8 weeks.
Phase 2 of the Digital Growth Voucher scheme (which has now closed) received over 240 applications from SMEs since its relaunch.
Looking to the future, we have been making plans for 2018, including designing and developing Phase 3 of the Digital Growth Voucher scheme, which we expect to launch in March/April. We are looking to deliver at least 2 major digital conferences in the Leeds city region, including one in Harrogate in March titled “Go Digital Live”.
Also in the New Year we will be concentrating on reporting on some of the success stories of businesses that have participated in the Digital Enterprise programme and the projects that they have completed with the help of a Digital Growth Voucher.