Date: 18th July 2019
Businesses in the Leeds City Region can register with Digital Enterprise now to ensure they are first in line to apply for a new three-year £6m round of tech investment funding, available from September. The funding is designed to help smaller companies invest in digital technology such as new hardware and software as well as developing websites and apps, introducing new internet telephony and improving digital and broadband connectivity.
The UK Government and ERDF-backed initiative, which has been running since 2016, has so far assisted over 1,400 businesses, providing £3.6m of grants for £6.8m of match-funded projects and a wealth of educational opportunities to help firms improve their digital knowledge. Digital Enterprise 2.0 is set to launch in September to deliver more funding in the form of vouchers, as well training and practical assistance, aimed at boosting the city region’s digital competitiveness.
“Digital Enterprise 2.0 will be even bigger and better than our previous programme,” said Muz Mumtaz who heads the initiative. “We have listened to what businesses tell us about the most useful support we can provide in order to help them transform themselves via digital technology, and as a result we have broadened the programme so that help is available for an even a wider range of business tech investment.
“To date, we have provided funding for over 800 businesses and delivered training and networking to 600 more, with an estimated 1,200 jobs eventually created as a result. Well over three quarters of businesses who have engaged with the programme said Digital Enterprise support has had a transformational impact on how they use digital technology, and we are really pleased to be able to continue to provide this support.”
He added: “Ahead of the launch of the new funding scheme we are asking Leeds City Region firms to register at the Digital Enterprise website now. You can check your company’s eligibility and also indicate the support you would like to access. We will then get in touch with you when the programme kicks off in September and those businesses that have pre-registered will then be first in the queue.”
The Digital Enterprise initiative is open to SMEs in the Leeds City Region, which covers Leeds, Bradford, York, Harrogate, Wakefield, Kirklees, Calderdale, Craven and Selby. It aims to help businesses become more digitally adept in order to grow and create new jobs.
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), one of the organisations providing funding for the programme and NP11 said: “I’m delighted that through the Digital Enterprise programme, the LEP has supported over 1,400 businesses in the region to transform the way they access and use digital technology.
“Investment in digital and tech is essential not only to those working within the digital sector, but businesses in all sectors. This is a brilliant opportunity for even more businesses to become equipped with digital technologies and develop the skills needed to thrive in a rapidly changing digital economy, and I encourage all to get in touch and access the support available.”
Paul Harvey of lighting business Sensio, based in Castleford said: “Support from Digital Enterprise has been instrumental in our technological journey. As a fast-growing business, we needed systems that supported our development.
“Initially, Digital Enterprise helped us with the cost of moving all our data into the cloud and then further supported us as we needed fast broadband access to keep pace with the demand of users. The process was simple and non-bureaucratic making it a painless journey, and we can thoroughly recommend the service and assistance from Digital Enterprise.”
Georgina Grant-Muller of web business RapidSpike in Leeds said: “After attending Digital Enterprise’s Digital Knowledge Exchange workshops, we have transformed our marketing plan, the way we use social media and gained new leads. We have increased monthly eyes on the brand by 2,100% and engaged with new global markets. We would recommend the Digital Enterprise workshops to companies who want to gain an understanding of how to effectively use social media to improve communications with their target market.”
Bill Beaumont from Distant Future Animation Studio in Keighley commented: “The Digital Enterprise voucher scheme helped us on two occasions, once in 2017 then again in 2018. Each round of funding allowed us to invest in new equipment, providing a massive increase in the speed we create new work. This extra capacity enabled us to widen our offer, win new clients, increase turnover and profits and create new jobs.”
Jane Vincent, from Fortem People based in Flasby, near Skipton commented: “Fortem people had grown organically year or year but needed that big extra push to really take the business forward. We applied to the Digital Enterprise scheme in the hope they could help us! The rest is history. We moved to a converted barn in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales and invested our money in a new all singing all dancing CRM system and new IT systems. We have taken on more staff and have grown turnover, staffing and profit. Oh and helped the local farmer deliver a few new lambs into the world!”
For more information, and to register your interest for the programme, go to www.digitalenterprise.co.uk/de2