Multi-million pound scheme helps Leeds firms join the digital revolution

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Millions of pounds in funding is being made available to help businesses in and around Leeds tap into the city’s digital boom.

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) today announced details of an £8.5m Digital Enterprise Programme for small and medium sized companies.

Grants of up to £5,000 will be on offer on a match-funded basis for eligible firms to put towards the cost of investment in digital projects or information and communications technology.

Website improvements and the purchase of new software have been suggested as two of the specific ways that the money could be used.

LEP chair Roger Marsh 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.

“With grant funding available to invest in new software and website upgrades, businesses will be supported to de-risk investments that can have a great impact on their bottom line.”

The programme is part-financed by the EU’s England European Regional Development Fund and will be managed by Leeds City Council.

Coun James Lewis, the council’s deputy leader, 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.”

Workshops giving the lowdown on subjects such as social media, cyber security and digital marketing are due to start later this year as part of the scheme.

The Leeds city region comprises 10 of Yorkshire’s local authority areas, including Leeds, Wakefield, Kirklees, Bradford and Calderdale.

For further information, visit www.digitalenterprise.co.uk, e-mail enquiries.DE@leeds.gov.uk or ring 0113 348 1818.

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