Since 2011, INV-ENT, a local funding programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has led to an investment of over £1.1m across 81 projects in Northamptonshire.
The funds are helping businesses create over 425 new jobs and 150 apprenticeships whilst supporting the training of 800 staff and bringing more than £15m private investment into the county.
A new chapter
Building on previous rounds of INV-ENT, created to stimulate business development, innovation and growth and to create new jobs, a new strand of the programme called INV-ENT DIGITAL (Innovation & Enterprise Digital Fund) has been launched today.
INV-ENT DIGITAL is seeking applications from ambitious SMEs looking to take advantage of enhanced digital capacity/capabilities to grow and transform their business by:
• Achieving efficiencies through the use of cloud, new software etc.
• Enhancing their on-line presence and capabilities
• Investing in new technologies, software or hardware
• Stimulating digital innovation
• Accessing new revenue streams through e-commerce
• Up-skilling existing staff or securing new staff with digital capabilities
Applications are invited from SMEs with a registered office in Northamptonshire. Businesses can apply for up to £10,000 on a match fund basis for investment in IT/digital related activities to support growth. Successful applicants will have been trading for a minimum of two years.
The total funding available for this round of INV-ENT DIGITAL is £160,000, comprising investment from Northamptonshire County Council’s (NCC’s) prosperity fund with additional monies following a successful bid by NEP to Government’s SME Digital Capability Fund.
The initiative was first unveiled at the Northamptonshire Business Summit in October 2011 as part of a £2m package of measures funded by NCC’s prosperity fund and is being jointly delivered by the county council and NEP.
Cllr Jim Harker, Leader of Northamptonshire County Council, said: “We’re aware of an emerging sector in the county with a pronounced digital focus and that’s why we’ve chosen this particular area to direct investment.
“INV-ENT has already proved itself as a mechanism that can bring enormous advantages to businesses at a relatively small cost and I’m confident that this latest round will prove to be similarly beneficial.”
Sajeeda Rose, Chief Operating Officer, NEP, said: “As INV-ENT continues to draw a significant level of interest from local businesses, it is crucial to broaden the funding application criteria and to focus on Northamptonshire’s key and emerging sectors.
“At a time when we are recovering from a challenging economic period, INV-ENT DIGITAL will help SMEs maximise innovation, create job opportunities for local people and support Northamptonshire businesses in their efforts to compete profitably in an increasingly diverse technology-based marketplace.”
Applications should be submitted to NEP by 12 noon on 23 January 2015.
Further details on eligibility and how to apply are available HERE
The Business Show 2014
The Business Show this Thursday and Friday (27 & 28 November) at Olympia in London is billed as the UK’s biggest exhibition for anyone starting or growing a business. The event is an opportunity to network with 25,000 other businesses and pitch to panels of multi-millionaire investors. 170 interactive training sessions will be led by experts.
NEP has a stand at the show. Visit stand no. 382 to find out how Northamptonshire could benefit your business.
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