£7.2m digital business growth fund launched

Councillor Diana Meale

The Derby Derbyshire Nottingham Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will launch a £7.2 million fund in January aimed at helping 850 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make better use of digital connectivity to expand their businesses.

The D2N2 Digital Business Growth Programme will run for three years and wants to help SMEs make better use of their current digital and online marketing techniques — or develop new ones — to improve business performance and productivity.

A £3.6 million investment will come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) portion of D2N2’s larger €250 million allocation of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

Matched funding of £3.6 million 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.

Peter Richardson, chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Few business sectors can do without a digital presence and marketing strategy but many smaller firms find establishing one a daunting prospect.

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

Councillor Diana Meale, chair of the Economic Development Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Through the ongoing Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire and Digital Derbyshire programmes, we’re putting digital infrastructure in place which is amongst the best in the UK.

“But if the area is going to drive home the full economic benefits of having better broadband, we need to support businesses to explore and introduce new and emerging ICT products and services.

“The D2N2 Digital Growth programme, which we are proud to be delivering in partnership with the East Midlands Chamber, gives businesses new commercial opportunities to boost their competitiveness and productivity; helping to drive economic growth across the D2N2 area.”