More than 800 SMEs register for digital skills support in West Yorkshire

The Superfast West Yorkshire business support scheme has smashed its target and supported over 400 businesses through its digital skills programme across the region as it comes to an end.

The programme offered free business support to small businesses across West Yorkshire and has registered 816 businesses on the programme, with 417 of these businesses completing the full 12 hours of support since February 2014.

The programme is projected to create 385 jobs across West Yorkshire and boost GVA by £17.2million.

Having delivered over 54 events since the start of the programme, including four Google Juice Bars, 48 full day masterclasses and a number of formal briefings, the scheme has gone a long way in providing digital skills help to businesses in need of digital and social marketing skills and online business advisor support to help their businesses grow and flourish.

From masterclasses in how to use LinkedIn and social marketing right through to content creation and sessions around Twitter for business, the events schedule has been jam packed with 14 events delivered throughout May and June 2015  alone.

Roger Marsh, chair of the LEP, said: “Enabling businesses to learn new digital skills and explore ways the internet can help reach new markets is fundamental to sustained future economic growth.”

“SMEs make up 99 per cent of the business population in Leeds City Region, and I am delighted so many have taken advantage of this free training to enhance their knowledge and feel the impact this can have on business activity.”

Ian Gray, chair of the Superfast West Yorkshire project board said: “We have seen a real appetite from businesses across West Yorkshire to sign up to the business support programme, and this is clearly demonstrated by the number of businesses who have already completed and registered on the programme.

“We have seen companies grow their digital presence after attending just one of the events, and it is great to see the work being put to use practically across the digital spectrum of channels of each of our clients.

“It is great to have reached and exceeded our targets for the numbers of businesses we have helped, and we look forward to potentially securing new funds in the future to offer further business support.“

The Superfast West Yorkshire Business Support Programme was designed specifically to help local businesses exploit the many competitive advantages that faster broadband provides and to understand the benefits of faster broadband on their overall business performance.

The programme runs alongside the Superfast West Yorkshire broadband rollout programme which is due to come to an end in September 2015. Phase two of this broadband extension project in West Yorkshire has just been signed, and the project team will be looking at potential future opportunities for another business support programme.




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