A new £8.5m scheme has been set up to help Leeds businesses tap into the digital boom.
The Digital Enterprise Programme will support eligible SMEs within the Leeds City Region to invest in digital technologies or advance their digital skills as they look to scale up.
Grants of up to £5,000 will be on offer on a match-funded basis, and digital growth advisors will be available to offer advice and support to help businesses make investments that will aid growth and productivity.
The programme is part-financed by the EU’s England European Regional Development Fund and will be managed by Leeds City Council.Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), 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.”
The Leeds city region comprises 10 of Yorkshire’s local authority areas, including Leeds, Wakefield, Kirklees, Bradford and Calderdale.
The Strategic Economic Plan for the region includes a plan to create an additional 15,000 digital jobs by 2025.
Cllr James Lewis, deputy leader of Leeds City Council, added: “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.“