A groundbreaking project which has helped thousands of businesses across Leicester and Leicestershire to enhance their digital skills will continue for another three years thanks to a £5m funding extension.
The Digital Growth Programme, which launched in 2016, gives local SMEs access to fully-funded workshops, financial support and free one-to-one advice to help them make the most of digital technology. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Leicestershire County Council and East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire).
The Chamber will have contributed £626,981 and Leicestershire County Council £170,000 to the programme over its six-year lifespan.
The programme has seen 1,044 Leicester and Leicestershire businesses receive more than 23,000 hours of free digital support so far. It has also delivered 240 action-planning workshops and 48 awareness-raising seminars about a host of digital subjects.
More than £3m of funding has been invested into the programme so far, which helped to unlock an additional £2.25m of private sector investment from SMEs which received support.
Between now and March 2022, a further £5m will be pumped into the programme, with the aim of engaging with a further 2,000 businesses by providing bespoke digital advice and delivering 200 more workshops and 48 more seminars.
It will offer support from expert local digital professionals across ten new digital themes, in Cloud computing and cyber resilience, Ecommerce, International ecommerce and marketing, Email marketing, CRM and Big Data, Mobile marketing and productivity, Online marketing, Paid digital advertising
Social media, Video production and marketing, Website planning and development.
Trevor Pendleton, cabinet support member for Leicestershire County Council, said: “ We remain committed to making Leicestershire a great place for opportunities and business growth, which is why we are delighted to continue our support for the Digital Growth Programme.
“More than 1,000 local businesses have already received a huge amount of support to help them realise their objectives and embrace the opportunities that digital resources can bring. The next phase of the programme will ensure that even more business can access this vital support.”
Diane Beresford, the Chamber’s Deputy Chief Executive, added: “The response to the Digital Growth Programme so far has been fantastic, so we’re really pleased to be working alongside our funding and delivery partners to increase our investment in this crucial business support initiative.
“From trading online to adopting technology to streamline processes and increase productivity, the digital agenda is something that businesses of all sizes can no longer afford to ignore. The Digital Growth Programme is all about helping more local businesses to harness digital technology to unlock their full potential.”
Businesses can find out more about the Digital Growth Programme and the unique support it provides by visiting www.leics-digital.co.uk.
A selection of case studies featuring Leicestershire businesses which have received support can be found at www.leics-digital.co.uk/casestudies.