SME funding available as digital technology programme expands

Businesses in the Leeds City Region are being urged to apply for newly available Digital Growth Vouchers funding of between £2,000 and £10,000 to upgrade digital technology and boost competitiveness, before the scheme closes in November.


The latest phase of the Digital Growth Voucher scheme opens on Monday 1 October. Available via the Government-backed Digital Enterprise programme, the vouchers can be used to fund digital technology investment projects of up to £12,000. Spending on IT hardware and software, upgrading digital or broadband connectivity, developing websites and installing new internet telephony are all eligible for funding under the scheme.


To apply for the vouchers businesses must operate in a business to business environment, have been trading for at least 12 months, employ between two and 250 people, and have a turnover of no more than £43m.


Muz Mumtaz, who heads Digital Enterprise, said: “This is phase four of the Digital Growth Vouchers scheme and it will only be open for six weeks. The vouchers have proved incredibly popular every time they have been made available and any businesses that could benefit from the funding would be well advised to get in touch as soon as possible to check whether they match the criteria – and apply before the vouchers are gone.”


He added: “This time the scope of the funding has been widened so that businesses that have already received Digital Growth Vouchers or who take part in our Digital Knowledge Exchange programme will be eligible.


“The total technology project spend has also increased from £11,000 to £12,000. The vouchers cover at least 50% of the cost of a digital transformation project, so they can provide a real catalyst to help businesses boost their digital capability.”


Since it was rolled out across the Leeds City Region in October 2016 the Digital Growth Vouchers scheme has helped more than 636 businesses to upgrade their digital technology and a total of £2.8m has been awarded.


Sowerby Bridge steel stockholder Abram Pulman & Sons, which suffered devastating flooding in 2015, used the £5,000 it secured through the scheme in December 2017 to invest in new laptops for its salesforce, as well as in developing an app and intranet.


David Shoesmith, the firm’s managing director, said: “The Digital Growth Voucher, and the investment that we were able to make as a result, was a real game changer for us. Combined with the hard work of our exceptional team, we have seen a 10 per cent boost in sales, and increased efficiencies across our whole sales process as a result.”


Funded by the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), its nine local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Digital Enterprise provides funding for businesses in the Leeds City Region to upgrade digital technology and connectivity. The city region includes Leeds, Bradford, York, Wakefield, Harrogate, Calderdale, Selby, Kirklees and Craven.


In addition to the Digital Growth Vouchers, funding of between £500 and £1,000 is also currently available as part of the programme’s Connectivity Voucher scheme to enable SMEs to upgrade to faster broadband connections. The latest phase of the Digital Growth Voucher scheme will open on Monday 1 October and close of Friday 9 November, 2018.


For further information about funding currently available to businesses, and to apply for a voucher go to