Help is at hand for small and medium sized businesses in Northamptonshire which want to improve broadband connectivity and develop digital innovation.
Northamptonshire County Council has secured more than £800k of European money for the Northamptonshire Digital Enhancement project.
An extension of the county council’s Superfast Northamptonshire, the scheme will work in three ways:
- Providing grants to support innovative digital business improvement projects
- Offering a digital adviser to help businesses capitalise on technological advances
- Developing a connection voucher scheme, enabling some businesses to upgrade to a superfast broadband connection by providing 50% of the cost
Where has the money come from?
The project with be delivered through the Northamptonshire Growth Hub, a partnership between the county council and the University of Northampton, with the money which has been allocated by the European Regional Development Fund.
Cllr Ian Morris, county council cabinet member for transport, highways, and environment, said: “Northamptonshire is an entrepreneurial county with a high number of small and medium sized businesses.
“This project will support our ambitious local businesses to grow by addressing barriers to digital growth, including limited access to digital technology and insufficient specialist knowledge.
“For example, it is estimated that only a third of the eligible businesses have a digital presence and only 14% sell their products online.
“We’ve always been impressed by the quality, ingenuity, and ambition of projects put forward by local businesses for past grant schemes, and we’ll be looking for the same with a digital focus for this fund.
“We’ll also build on the success of the national connection voucher scheme by delivering a local version helping businesses in areas that aren’t commercially viable to connect to the superfast broadband network to get connected. We’re aiming to support 260 local businesses over the two years of the project.”
When will the initiative launch?
The initiative will be launched and operational later this year. Businesses can register their interest in any part of the project on the Superfast Northamptonshire website.