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Scottish government launches £25m digital funding for SMEs

Money comes from the latest wave of the government’s DigitalBoost Fund, which offers small and medium-sized businesses in Scotland funding to invest in digital technologies

The Scottish government aims to give businesses a digital boost through a £25m fund to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) utilise technology and improve digital skills.

The funding is from the latest round of the DigitalBoost Fund, which offers grants of between £2,500 and £20,000 to SMEs on a 50/50 investment basis.

The first round of the DigitalBoost Fund was launched in January 2021 and helped more than 2,200 businesses invest in hardware, software e-commerce and data analytics.

The government hopes this additional investment will enable businesses to gain access to expert advice on how to best adopt technology and which skills are needed to increase productivity and resilience.

Scottish economy secretary Kate Forbes said the Covid-19 pandemic had “demonstrated just how important digital technologies are for businesses”.

She added: “I am delighted that so many businesses have adapted to working with new technology and innovated how they work at great pace.

“This additional £25m investment in the DigitalBoost Fund will support even more businesses to invest in their digital capacity.

“This 100-day Scottish government commitment reinforces our determination to support businesses to improve their digital skills and technologies to ensure they can help drive forward our economic recovery and support net-zero.” 

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Eligible businesses wanting to apply can get help with funding for a range of digital capabilities, including developing an app, using a digital consultancy, building an online booking system, buying IT software and hardware, and first-year costs for ongoing annual charges for platforms, hosting or online content management.

One of the businesses that received funding from the first round of the DigitalBoost programme in January 2021, The Power Within Training, used the money to build a virtual training platform.

The company’s managing director, James Fleming, said the support received from the programme has been essential to grow his business during the pandemic.

“Our operations during this time were significantly impacted because of lockdown, with 97% of our revenue disappearing almost overnight,” he said. “The grant helped us build a new virtual training platform, with an inbuilt CRM [customer relationship management] system and an e-commerce system.

“This has helped us reach new markets and ensure our training materials are more accessible to a greater range of customers. The funding has accelerated our growth and ensured we have built greater resilience into our business operations. We are very excited about the future now that we have improved our digital offering.”

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