Funding your next IT Project
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll be aware that the UK is going to be leaving the EU in the not too distant future.
However, you might be wondering what that has to do with IT?
Well, one of the things we are likely to see less of is the type of grant that can be used to upgrade IT equipment and infrastructure and that’s why we’d urge you to make yourselves aware of what’s available now and take advantage whilst you can.
The most obvious source of funding for IT equipment in the East Midlands at the moment is the Digital Growth Programme initiative which is led by the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce in partnership with various local authorities.
As the name suggests the programme is focused on achieving growth via the use of digital within the business. A large programme of workshops is available across a number of areas of digital marketing including search engine optimisation, social media and the use of video and these are all free to qualifying businesses. Alongside the workshops, which we highly recommend, is a substantial grant scheme.
Businesses in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire may be eligible for funding of up to £16,000 towards a digital based project. Typical projects include the cost of the introduction of new ICT products or services, including new website or software; upgrading current IT systems; and consultancy or other professional advice to help implement ICT project plans. Grant awards will target businesses that can demonstrate how their projects support business growth and job creation and the grant covers 40% of the total project costs.
It is worth considering the age of your current equipment and seeing whether newer, faster infrastructure would benefit the business and help with growth. We wrote recently about how to speed up a slowing PC but eventually, equipment will wear out and you’ll notice a drop in performance. Generally speaking, we would recommend a renewal of a laptop or desktop computer every 5 years. If you’re already a customer of ours we can often tell you the age of the machine you’re using, we may be able to give you a ball park even if you’re not currently supported by us.
As well as desktops and laptops the funding could also be used for a new server, or for IT based projects such as those you may be considering around data protection with the new General Data Protection Regulations coming in next year.
The Digital Growth Programme is not the only source of grant funding that you might want to consider for any projects. Companies in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire could tap into NBV Enterprise Solutions Grant for Enterprise which offers up to £2,500 at a 25% intervention rate. This grant is available to businesses of any size and is designed to have less of an administrative burden than some others, again this grant can cover both revenue and capital costs.
Businesses in more rural areas of the East Midlands might be able to access LEADER grants – you’ll need to contact your Local Action Group (LAG) to find out exactly what funding is available in your area but there are LAG’s across Lincolnshire, Bolsover, East Leicestershire, The Peaks and both North and South Nottinghamshire. To find out if you’re in a Leader area and get contact details for your local group visit the Leader download this list.
Established businesses in Ashfield and Mansfield can access £5000 Business Growth Grants if they can produce a viable ‘Growth Plan’ that will result in the creation of at least two full-time jobs.
For a comprehensive list of the funding for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, the D2N2 Growth Hub is a great starting point, whilst Leicestershire businesses have the Leicester Business Gateway and Lincolnshire businesses can access the Business Lincolnshire website grant and scheme finder tool – which lists both national and local opportunities.
There is plenty of funding around AT THE MOMENT but this is likely to change as the UK withdraw from the EU. Most of these schemes derive at least a percentage of their funding from Europe via things like the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). There is no guarantee that once this funding disappears it will be replaced from other sources.
Our advice would be to get the funding whilst you still can, this may even be one of the very rare occasions that it might be worth considering bringing a project forward in order to take advantage of funding whilst it’s available.
If you have an infrastructure project or you’re looking for consultancy support around data protection, then please call us for an informal chat – regardless of whether you are a current Your IT Customer or not. We’ll provide free advice and we may even be able to put you in contact with an organisation offering funding in your area.
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