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Businesses in West Northamptonshire invited to overtake their competition

Business support

10 January 2022

Small business owner working digitally

Businesses with less than 250 employees, from sole traders to manufacturers, and from private ventures to charities and CICs, are invited to an online business conference this month to get financial help to adopt digital technologies.

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) and University of Bedfordshire’s Research and Innovation Service are teaming up to host the two-hour: Productivity Escalator - The Future is a Digital conference, sponsored by ERDF on Thursday, 27 January 2022,

The event will serve as a chance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to learn about funding that can support the adoption of digital technology.

Northampton is in the top 10 most innovative cities in the UK and this area is a hotbed of activity for businesses,

With over 19,000 businesses in West Northamptonshire, this programme is just what local businesses need to do more online and with digital technology.

The event will include: an information session, one-to-one advice, and the opportunity to ask direct questions about growing or recovering your business.

The programme includes:

  • expert consultancy to help you develop your innovation plans – impartial, and at no cost to your business.
  • grants of up to £6,000 towards the cost of capital equipment or people to bring your digital aims to life
  • the opportunity to embed a skilled graduate for three months to develop your solutions, paid for by the Productivity Escalator project
  • funding up to £10,000 toward a one-year Masters by Research programme leading to further research opportunities, business growth and staff retention

Cllr Lizzy Bowen, WNC’s Cabinet member for economic development, town centre regeneration and growth, said: “Our local communities rely on local businesses and want them to thrive. It’s a priority at WNC to help and support SMEs, especially as they try to bounce back from the pandemic. Our Economy Team are on hand to help every local business to overcome challenges and grow.

“Making the shift to digital technologies can be a daunting prospect but we hope this morning of quick-fire presentations will take away some of the mystery and give business owners the confidence to utilise the available resources which can help them connect with customers in a much more effective way."

Dr Paul Sant, Head of Department of computer science and technology at University of Bedfordshire, said: “Automation, better online visibility, streamlining, better client experience – these are all within easy reach if you know how to do it, and that’s why this event, with the funding and expertise behind it, is so important.

“Digital means so much more than just programming; there are so many other areas of interest and opportunity. The University is perfectly placed to help organisations develop those opportunities through access to people in my department or our Business School."

Productivity Escalator: The Future is Digital is set to take place online between 9am and 11am on Thursday, 27 January. Places are limited, to book, please book via EventBrite.