Government unveils £11.8m funding package to help businesses ‘harness’ digital

Businesses in Scotland will be able to access an £11.8m digital tech fund to allow them to harness the power of technology as they recover from the coronavirus crisis.

Companies across the country can apply for help from the scheme to improve their productivity, increase their resilience and create new market opportunities.

As part of the Scottish Government’s support for economic recovery, the cash will go towards helping businesses to adopt digital technologies and improve their digital capability.

Building on the success of existing digital support programmes, £10 million funding will be provided for financial incentives and expert advice to support businesses to invest in digital and continue their digital journey.

HIE will be given £800,000 to extend its Digital Enablement Grant scheme to reach more businesses in the Highlands and Islands.

The Data Lab will also receive £1 million to help businesses to invest in more advanced technologies such as data analytics and artificial intelligence.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said: “The firms that have coped best during the pandemic are invariably those that have been able to adapt with the help of digital tools.

“However, despite the digital transition made by many businesses, there is still far more that can be done to help businesses embrace the opportunities that digital offers. We also know that huge potential lies in the information and data that business hold and that’s why we’re also supporting businesses on their data journey.

“This funding will provide an immediate boost and will support businesses to adopt productivity enhancing digital technologies. It will also help to improve their digital capability and the skills of their workforce so they can keep pace with future technological progress.

“Supporting SMEs on their digital journey is key to Scotland’s economic recovery and future prosperity.”

David Oxley, director of business growth at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “Digital technology can revolutionise how organisations function, transforming performance by helping them become more productive, efficient and competitive. That’s become even more important during the pandemic, with businesses and their customers increasingly recognising the benefits of trading online.

“These grants will also help organisations recover and diversify by investing in digital technologies. The money will make a real difference and will support companies that have the potential to retain and create jobs in all parts of the Highlands and Islands.”