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East Midlands Chamber News

£3.8m to make smarter use of ICT

Up to £3.8m from the European Regional Development Fund has been made available through D2N2 to help SMEs and social enterprises grow through smarter use of infor-mation and communication technologies.

The latest ‘call for proposals’ builds on current investment by Government, local authori-ties and D2N2 in infrastructure across its area, to increase broadband speeds.

D2N2 is now looking for bids for projects to help businesses and social enterprises take full advantage of better digital connectivity and ICT to improve productivity, access new markets, be more innovative and improve employees’ skills.

Individual projects must have a value of at least £1m. Bidders will be expected to provide half that and a further £500,000 would then be made available through the European Re-gional Development Fund (ERDF).

Proposals need to show how they add value to the existing support offered through the D2N2 Growth Hub, which offers free, impartial business support and advice to businesses in the D2N2 area.

Peter Richardson, Chairman of D2N2, said: “Digital connectivity is a vital utility for busi-ness and is fundamental to achieving economic growth.

“Businesses making smarter use of information and communication technology will help drive the goal of the D2N2 Strategic Economic Plan, to create 55,000 new jobs in the area by 2023.

“We’d welcome project bids of impact and scale, which can readily deliver the vital sup-port to businesses and social enterprises in our area, to take advantage of enhanced digi-tal connectivity, particularly increased broadband speeds.”

Businesses or organisations wishing to bid for a share of the £3.8m should make an out-line application by Friday September 25. The outline application form and guidance on how to apply can be found at web link www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-structural-and-investment-funds-outline-application.

For more information on the call to access part of the ICT funding, worth up to £3.8m, contact Richard Kirkland, D2N2 ESIF Co-ordinator at rcadkrln@22e.rihr.ikaddnlpog.

The new funding to support ICT projects is part of a larger £214m ESIF allocation to D2N2 – the Local Enterprise Partnership which promotes economic growth across Derby, Derby-shire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – which will support a wide range of business sup-port and community programmes, between 2014 and 2020.