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East Midlands Chamber News

Success of pioneering business support programme is celebrated

 

The success of a pioneering £5.2m programme, which has enabled more than a thousand Leicester and Leicestershire businesses to embrace digital technology, has been celebrated by those involved in and helped by the project.

 

The Digital Growth Programme gives local SMEs access to fully-funded workshops, financial support and free one-to-one advice to help them introduce new digital technology to their organisations. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Leicestershire County Council and the Chamber.

 

Over the past year, it provided 1,044 businesses with more than 23,000 hours of free digital support, as well as distributing grant funding of more than £1.25m to 122 eligible businesses.

 

It also delivered 240 action-planning workshops and 48 awareness-raising seminars about a host of digital subjects, including cloud computing and cyber resilience, ecommerce, email marketing, CRM, Search Engine Optimisation, social media and website planning and development.

 

More than £2.6m of funding was made available by the European Regional Development Fund, £100,000 from the council and £268,000 from the Chamber, which helped to unlock an additional £2.25m of private sector investment from SMEs that received support.

 

Last week, more than 300 local businesses attended a major conference, at Leicester Racecourse, to get the latest insights and advice from Google and local digital experts, as well as celebrate the successes of the programme.

 

Diane Beresford, Deputy Chief Executive at the Chamber, said: “The Digital Growth Programme to date has been a huge success and we have been delighted with the response from the business community.

 

“More than 1,000 local businesses have engaged with the programme, which is great, and it was fantastic to see so many of them at the Digital Conference as we celebrated the achievements of the programme so far.”

 

One of the businesses to benefit from funding support from the programme was Chamber Member Food Attraction, a food manufacturer based in the city.

 

It accessed around £2,500 of funding from the programme to create a new website for one of its sub-brands, Jake & Nayn’s, which makes and supplies hand-held Indian snacks to retailers across the UK.

 

Director Jake Karia said: “We’ve built our business by having a good presence on social media, but our new website has helped take us to the next level.

 

“It has given us the credibility we needed to be able to talk directly with national retailers and supermarket chains, rather than being a direct-to-consumer brand.

 

“The increase in business has enabled us to create new jobs in Leicester.”

 

The programme is set to continue throughout 2019 and beyond, with additional workshops and funding being allocated. SMEs looking to embrace its support can visit www.leics-digital.co.uk to find out more about the programme and how to take advantage of the support it provides.

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