Superfast Business Cornwall offers a tailored programme of high quality information, advice and digital development, coupled with grants to enable new digital IT related projects. It is fully funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
The aim of the service is to boost the competitiveness of businesses through an increased understanding and exploitation of digital technology, building on the massive investment in recent years in superfast broadband infrastructure in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Match funding is available for projects that develop a new product, service or give access to new markets, as well as create jobs.
Mike Robertson, Superfast Business Cornwall team leader and digital business enabler, said: “Our service is a great opportunity for businesses to accelerate their digital and growth ambitions.
“We offer intensive support to help understand and harness the use of superfast broadband-enabled digital technology, and grant funding applications can be progressed very quickly with help to complete and present proposals and implement projects. We do not ask any questions that businesses would not already be asking themselves before investing”
Among those to have benefited from Superfast Business Cornwall are Penryn-based PFA Research and St Austell-based Nationwide Print.
Thanks to the grant funding and guidance from Superfast Business Cornwall, PFA was able to develop a new mobile app platform called What Cornwall Thinks, supporting a digital research web application that lets people access the power of market research at the fraction of the usual cost. PFA expects the pioneering technology to put it ahead of its competitors, boosting income and the workforce.
Robert Salvoni, chairman of What Cornwall Thinks, said: “We needed to move our business into a more digital space and working with Superfast Business Cornwall helped us to realise how we could best utilise technology, and adopt it to boost our own business and launch an exciting new venture. The funding application and support process was straightforward and quick with payments being made as milestones were reached. All of this flexibility helped us to move the project forward.”
Nationwide Print is also hoping to become a market leader, with the launch of a new digital tool, thanks to grant funding and advice from Superfast Business Cornwall. The printer is one of the first in the country to use marketing asset management software which streamlines the design and creation of printed products for clients.
Julian Hocking, owner and MD of Nationwide Print, said: “We had not accessed European funding before and the process was much quicker and simpler than expected. We are looking forward to using this new technology to grow our business and make printing far more efficient for our new and existing customers.”
Mike added: “Both of these businesses are great examples of how harnessing the power of digital technology can increase competiveness and boost growth. We would encourage other small and medium sized businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to explore how they might exploit digital technology to improve and grow.”
Superfast Business Cornwall runs until March 2019 and is fully funded by the European Regional Development Fund, so there is no charge for eligible businesses, start-ups and social enterprises to participate.
Any potential investment projects must be enabled by superfast broadband. Grants can fund revenue elements of the project but not capital items or websites. Businesses need to match fund 50% of the project and provide clear evidence of how it will lead to business growth and new jobs based in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly.
Examples of potential projects include new software development, remote monitoring and working, collaboration technologies, large data transfer, live high quality video streaming, moving resources to the Cloud, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and app development.
For information on grant funding applications, to see if your business is eligible, view case studies or learn more about how eligible businesses can benefit from the Superfast Business Cornwall service, visit www.sfbcornwall.co.uk, email [email protected] or call 0345 600 3936.