Image: Tech-savvy businesses invited to bid for cash

Tech-savvy businesses invited to bid for cash

Posted by Aahmed on 2 Oct 2015 at 11:00

Businesses looking to use technology to boost their company’s fortunes can now compete for money from a new Rochdale Borough Council fund aimed at helping local firms.

The new ‘get digital’ fund is available for Rochdale-based SMEs (small to medium enterprises) who have big plans to use technology to boost their business, but need a little financial help to make it happen. Shortlisted firms will be asked to make a Dragon’s Den-style pitch to win either a first prize of £10,000 cash or one of two runners-up prizes of £5,000 to help get their plans off the ground

Examples of initiatives businesses could bid for cash for include:

• Introducing innovative new apps
• Creating new gadgets and devices
• Launching new cyber security measures
• Building brand engagement and using social media
• Innovative use of e-commerce

Bidders must demonstrate that the investment will help them either reduce costs, improve outputs or employ more people, and will be monitored for 12 months after they receive the grant to ensure a return on the investment.

The fund was launched by the council to ensure that local businesses could fully benefit from the expansion of superfast broadband across the borough, which has been made possible by the installation of new fibre broadband street cabinets. The expansion will make Rochdale one of the most connected boroughs in the UK, with 99.6 per cent of businesses and homes in the borough set to be able to access superfast broadband by mid-2017. The council has financially contributed to the upgrading of 28 cabinets so far with additional investment from BT and the European Regional Development Fund. An impressive 179 businesses across the borough have also been successful in applying for Connection Vouchers to cut the costs of connecting to the new super-fast broadband

Councillor Peter Williams, Cabinet member for Business, Skills and Employment at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The rollout of superfast broadband gives businesses in the borough a real opportunity to grow, but only if they have the tools to make the most of it. This fund could help turn great ideas into real success stories, so our local businesses can expand and in turn put more money into the local economy and employ more people.”

All applicants will be asked to submit an application form by 6 November. The shortlisted applicants will receive help to prepare their pitch.

All new ideas must be ready to implement by 1 April 2016 and applicants must meet certain criteria. Applications must be submitted by 4pm on 6 November. Businesses which would like to find out more and apply can contact andrew.bradwell@rochdale.gov.uk or phone 01706 925605.

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