As NYnet prepares to deliver next generation connectivity to Hornbeam Park, we caught up with Martin Howarth, Digital Growth Advisor, at Digital Enterprise to find out what grant support is available to businesses that want to access better internet services.
What is the Digital Enterprise scheme?
In a nutshell, Digital Enterprise is designed to help small to medium sized businesses scale up and grow. There are two different funding streams: Digital Growth Vouchers, which can be used towards IT hardware and software such as laptops, CRM systems and website builds and Connectivity+ Vouchers which can help fund upgrades to a business’s digital connection.
What do Connectivity+ Vouchers cover?
They can be used towards the cost of internet upgrades, including leased lines, as well as routers, firewalls, switches, wifi access points and VoIP cloud telephony. Businesses on Hornbeam Park that want to take advantage of the faster speeds and improved service levels being offered by NYnet can apply for a Connectivity+ Voucher to help them cover the cost of upgrading.
What funding is available?
Grants of between £500 and £3,000 are available to improve your digital connection. The fund is available to any SME in the Leeds City Region, which includes Harrogate. We work closely with NYnet to help businesses find the best solution for their connectivity issues and apply for a grant. Digital Growth Vouchers for hardware and software investment can also be applied for, with grants of between £2,000 and £12,500 available.
Is there a maximum contribution for any one project?
Grants will be awarded to cover up to 50% of the cost of the project.
Can it be used to cover monthly broadband costs?
It can be used to fund up to 18 months of rental costs. However, because the grant is redeemed against invoiced services, these would need to be calculated and paid up front to avoid having to put in a claim every month. This is often difficult to arrange with larger providers but NYnet is a local firm that is keen to work flexibly with businesses. They will discuss your options during the grant application process and we can work together to support your upgrade plans.
Is it only available to digital businesses?
Absolutely not. The two funding streams have slightly different eligibility criteria but we support a wide range of sectors from manufacturing, construction to IT, marketing and professional services. We can support more SMEs that use the internet to communicate with its customers. If you have problems getting online or if your connection regularly lets you down, we can help you understand why and what you need to do to improve it. Then we’ll help you apply for help towards paying for it. We’re here to make sure no eligible business is held back by poor connectivity.
What if I already know what I want?
That’s fine, we’ll let you know how to apply to get help funding the investment in your business’s digital connectivity.
Can I use the grant to cover multiple things?
Yes. If you have a project that includes several elements, such as upgrading your internet connection and installing VoIP telephony, you can apply for a grant towards the whole project.
How long does the application process take?
It’s a very quick and easy process, as long as you respond to us promptly when we ask for information. We’ll be in touch within a week of you first contacting us. You’ll be asked to send a brief outline of your project and a couple of quotes for the work. When we receive these, we’ll aim to give you a decision in principle within 48 hours. Once the Decision in Principle is signed by both parties, it becomes your funding agreement and then you can place your order with your chosen supplier(s). When the order has been fulfilled and you have paid the supplier(s), send us your claim and we’ll pay your grant money within 10 days.
What can businesses do to prepare?
If you’re keen to get moving with your project, it helps to have a couple of quotes already to hand. You should also prepare a couple of brief paragraphs outlining why you want to carry out the work and what the impact on your business is likely to be. We’re very keen to support projects that are likely to have a significant impact on growth, for example by doubling internet speeds to improve efficiency and market share. This might be by enabling the use of better machinery, facilitating product development and design or increasing capacity for outgoing and incoming calls to support business growth.
Is there a deadline for applications?
Yes. The scheme will stop accepting applications for Connectivity+ vouchers on 31st March 2023 and businesses will need to submit their claims by 16th June 2023 to ensure they are paid before 30th June 2023. There is therefore a small window of opportunity and I would encourage all businesses that are thinking of investing in connectivity improvements to activate their plans as soon as possible.
How do I find out more?
To find out more about NYnet’s gigabit full fibre services at Hornbeam Park email email@example.com