Businesses in the Leeds City Region are set to benefit from a major new support programme that will help them invest in new technology and learn new digital skills.
The £8.5m Digital Enterprise Programme will be managed by Leeds City Council and is designed to support eligible small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to invest in digital technologies or advance their digital skills as they look to scale up and grow. Digital Growth Advisors will be on hand to offer advice and support to help businesses find the right type of investment that will help them achieve growth and raise both productivity and competitiveness.
A Digital Growth Voucher of up to £5,000 will be available for eligible firms towards the cost of investment in digital or ICT solutions – this includes upgrading a website, enhancing a digital connection, acquiring new hardware or software or a combination of these.
Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Possessing intel on the latest digital technologies and skills is not only relevant to those working within the digital sector, but fast becoming essential to any businesses looking to target new customers and improve their productivity by becoming more efficient.
“This exciting product adds to the growing amount of business support available via the LEP business growth service, a single point of contact for tailored business support. It will help SMEs in all our key sectors become more digitally savvy in their day to day activities.”
The Leeds City Region comprises 10 of Yorkshire’s local authority areas, including Leeds, Wakefield, Kirklees, Bradford and Calderdale.
This support is available to business through the LEP’s growth service, the comprehensive support service to businesses across the Leeds City Region. This latest support will feature in a new campaign from the LEP called #LetsTalkRealBusiness. This campaign is led by what business owners say they want – straightforward, no-nonsense support and advice about the issues relevant to them.
Cllr James Lewis, Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council said: “A recent IPPR North report into the role of SMEs in building a digital powerhouse highlights that small businesses often see investment in new digital technology as risky because of the costs and time involved, particularly as many small businesses are likely to be extremely time poor. This new business support aims to take away some of that risk and help save time. With financial support available and a hands on approach from our digital advisers businesses will be supported to find the right support to help them grow.”
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