£7.2million to help businesses dare to be more digital

December 16, 2016 11:15 am


Companies keen to widen their digital reach and impact are to benefit from a £7.2million funding package, through the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and its partners.

D2N2 Digital Business Growth Programme

This programme is set to launch in January 2017 and run for three years.  During this time, it will help around 850 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the D2N2 LEP area.  The support is for local companies to make better use of digital connectivity in order to expand.


D2N2 is the private sector-led partnership which promotes economic and jobs’ growth across Derbyshire, and Nottinghamshire.  It wants to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in a wide range of commercial sectors.  Through this support, businesses will make better use of their current digital and online marketing techniques or develop new ones.  At the end of the day, this will result in improvements in their business’ performance and productivity.

£3.6m investment comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).  This is from D2N2’s larger €250million allocation of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).  This is EU funding to be spent over six years (up to 2020).  Funded projects will help SMEs to be more competitive and expand their operations.

Matched funding of £3.6m for the programme will come from Nottinghamshire County, Nottingham City, Derbyshire County, Derby City and Rushcliffe Borough councils; Nottingham’s Creative Quarter Company and East Midlands Chamber. Some of the partners will also deliver the programme for businesses.

What’s available?

Activities will include:

  • A small grant scheme aimed at supporting businesses in exploiting either their existing technology or introducing new systems and software to assist with the implementation of new digital resources.  This is in order to improve business performance and productivity.
  • Raising companies’ awareness of new digital technology products and services; in order to help them be more competitive and productive, and grow.
  • Free workshops and seminars designed to showcase how new and emerging technologies are transforming business operations.  These will include focusing on big data, digital marketing, e-commerce, ‘The Internet of Things’, cloud computing and ensuring cyber security.  Over the next few years, at least 48 seminars will be delivered across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
  • 340 free business workshops to be run on practical steps, including website development, e-marketing, systems integration and other ICT matters.
  • Digital Conference events to be held in November 2017 and April 2019, for 300 to 500 visitors each.  Of course, these will include high profile speakers, Q&A panel sessions, and demonstration events where visitors can try out technology and talk to experts.
  • A one-to-one digital skills and advice service for companies looking to put into action the direction they’ve decided to take with ICT. This will include up to ten days of onsite expert support for businesses implementing their development plan.  Over the next few years, at least 350 businesses will be supported.

Why this support is needed

Peter Richardson, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership’s Chair, said: “Few business sectors can do without a digital presence and marketing strategy.  However, many smaller firms find establishing one a daunting prospect.

“Through significant investment in the D2N2 Digital Business Growth Programme, the D2N2 LEP and partners aim to address businesses’ needs.”

Councillor Diana Meale is Chair of the Economic Development Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council.  She added: “Through Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire and Digital Derbyshire, we’re putting some of the best UK digital infrastructure in place.  However, the area needs to drive home the full economic benefits of having better broadband.  Therefore we need to support businesses to explore and introduce new and emerging ICT products and services.

“We are so proud to be delivering The D2N2 Digital Growth programme in partnership with the East Midlands Chamber.  This programme gives businesses new commercial opportunities to boost their competitiveness and productivity.  Helping to drive economic growth across the D2N2 area.”

The new programme complements D2N2’s recent announcement about  The Big House, a £4.9m project helping creative and digital businesses expand.  And the £4.8m D2N2 has already put into Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire and Digital Derbyshire.  Both of which represent ongoing county schemes to expand domestic and business properties’ access to faster broadband.

Further information

For more information on the D2N2 Digital Business Growth Programme, contact Oliver Whittaker, Economic Development Officer at Nottinghamshire County Council, on 0115 977 2330.

To learn more about how the D2N2 LEP is using its €250million in European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to help businesses and grow the local economy, see the LEP’s website.

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