Grant scheme launched to provide free expert advice and cash to help businesses ‘Go Digital’
08 December 2020A new grant scheme launching today will enable micro, small and medium-sized businesses to make better use of digital technology through funding and one to one support.
Go Digital is being launched by Norfolk County Council to help businesses based in the county identify digital opportunities. It will provide expert one-to-one consultancy and the ability to apply for grants of up to £500.
Digital opportunities could include how to sell products and services online, reach new customers using social media, build customer databases, develop new or existing websites and attract new visitors, or how to work out the best homeworking options for teams.
Successful Go Digital applicants will be assigned an experienced business advisor who will conduct a ‘digital audit’ and provide a comprehensive report to identify digital opportunities. The advisor will help the business put together an action plan and then businesses will have the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to £500 to help them deliver projects using this plan.
The launch of Go Digital comes during a year of lockdowns, which has left many businesses facing the challenge of reaching their customers remotely by utilising digital services in new ways.
Cllr Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Growing the Economy, said: “We’ve carried out research and found that there is untapped potential for Norfolk businesses using more digital technology. Launching our Go Digital business support scheme is just one of the ways we’re helping businesses adapt and continue providing services for their communities through the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I’d urge business owners to apply as soon as possible, whether you’re looking to make use of more digital devices and tech, tap into the power of social media, or improve your online presence.”
Businesses can find out more and apply on the Norfolk County Council website at www.norfolk.gov.uk/GoDigital.
Research undertaken by Norfolk County Council prior to the Covid-19 pandemic found that one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of digital technology was culture change and the fear of the unknown. But the results of embracing technology were shown to be significant, with one Norfolk business noting a 30% increase in efficiency as well as happier staff due to fewer menial tasks.
National data from the ONS shows UK businesses can create a ‘productivity premium’ of 25% simply by introducing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
In 2020 the rate of digital technology adoption by UK businesses was driven to a new high. Research in June showed 29% started using virtual collaboration software and 25% cloud-based back office systems. This amounted to five years’ worth of adoption in a matter of months.
But for many business leaders, there is still uncertainty about how digital technology can benefit their business, as well as an upfront cost which for many is harder than ever to square financially.
To get the most out of the programme, applications should come from senior decision makers, for example senior managers, directors, founders or chief executives.
Applications to the Go Digital programme will close on 15 February 2021.