Date: 1st March 2018
We will shortly announce the launch date for Phase 3 of the Digital Growth Voucher scheme.
Our Digital Growth Advisor Richard Brook shared with us some insights about how this phase will look like. In a nutshell:
- The maximum value of the voucher will rise to £10,000 (from £5,000).
- We are providing funding for projects which will help businesses to be more digital.
- Business owners or senior managers from sustainable businesses apply directly through the website.
- A project will cost the business between £5k and £12k and include ITT equipment. We will provide 50% funding (more in special circumstances).
- These businesses need to show how their growth over the next 12-18 months will help the regional economy.
- Good projects will be completed and paid for within 4 months of making the application. Businesses will buy and pay for the assets before claiming the funding.
- Applications will be evaluated on the basis of how much more digital, how much more contribution to regional economy through growth and any x factor which is a game changer for the future.
Be more digital
- This is about what you do and how you do it. This translates into more productive people, better customer service and more contact with better customers.
- ITT stands for Information Technology & Telecommunications. Today that will be about faster & different. Faster includes server upgrades, better workstations, integrated software, and better broadband. Different includes VoIP phones, tablets, cloud computing and your website with deeper customer engagement through marketing automation, social media and ecommerce.
- More digital also includes CAD/CAM, VR/AR applications, 3D printing, video production equipment and communications equipment. It also necessitates better security and backup equipment.
- A good project is one you are ready to do now because you can’t wait or you know things will be better as a result of doing it. There are some rules but if you are focused on buying something rather than paying for a service it could be a good project.
- As to what you buy it is about what it does for you – and if it does it for you it should be a good project. Does it help you to get there? Does it create more of this or less of that?
- From our perspective a good project helps you prepare for a better future based on paying more wages to more people whilst making more profits.
Help the regional economy
- The priorities are more and better paid jobs and small business that make profits which enable them to invest in their future. Apprenticeships and skills development are priorities.
- Exporting and involvement with the regional universities reflect a positive contribution.
- Not all businesses are eligible. This is because funding is from the European Regional Development Fund which has rules about which small businesses we can fund.
- There are also specific limits for this programme because the focus is on established businesses with more than 2 employees. We are looking for the businesses that are investing in themselves because they want to create a new future. The past is not the way to tell but we are looking for businesses with a positive history that includes coping with changing business conditions.
Special circumstances & the x factor
- If a project is better or a business is making more contribution including through being in an eligible priority sector or location we may be able to increase the contribution.
- Businesses that are developing new products or services or investing in Fibre to the Premise also be considered.