Sarah Slaven, business development director of Business Durham
A £4m programme will help small businesses in County Durham thrive in a digital world by gaining a competitive edge and maximising their growth.
Digital Drive County Durham, the first of its kind in the county, will also help companies become more resilient and improve their productivity by providing funding and practical support to help them make better use of digital technology.
Business Durham, the economic development organisation for County Durham, has appointed business services company BE Group to deliver the three-year programme and companies are being encouraged to register their interest now.
Sarah Slaven, business development director of Business Durham, said: “A great deal is being invested in the infrastructure at the moment, providing super-speed fibre broadband to businesses and residents across the county. Companies need to exploit this connectivity to its full potential and that’s where Digital Drive County Durham comes in.
“With its vast experience and reputation, BE Group will work with businesses throughout County Durham to help them make the most of digital technology in order to succeed and grow. It’s a fantastic opportunity which has not been available in the county before.”
The support given by BE Group to eligible companies will include digital health checks, practical workshops, one-to-one assistance and funding towards equipment, consultancy or broadband projects.
Nicki Clark, chief executive of Seaham-based BE Group, said: “We’re really excited about this project. It has huge potential to make a tremendous and long-term difference to businesses in the area.
“Durham is working hard to put the infrastructure in place so businesses have great connectivity but that’s only part of the solution. It’s proven that businesses that use digital technology are more efficient and more resilient which can only be a good thing.”
Digital Drive County Durham is being funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Business Durham, which works on behalf of Durham County Council, and private investment, and forms part of the wider Digital Durham initiative to transform broadband speeds for residents and business across the North East.
The programme will officially launch in the New Year, at an event taking place at Ramside Hall, Durham, on January 30, but businesses can register their interest now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively they can visit www.digitaldrivedurham.co.uk or follow @DigiDriveDurham on Twitter for updates.