A national survey has shown that 90% of small and medium businesses say broadband connectivity will be fundamental to their success in 2015 - and a Newcastle business has revealed how going digital has rocketed it into the fast lane.
Digital agency iResources leapt onto the shortlist for four major digital awards after a boost from the city’s Go Digital Newcastle campaign, which included thousands of pounds of funding for new computers.
Go Digital Newcastle’s business support programme provides free masterclasses, workshops, and one-to-one advice to eligible SMEs in Newcastle.
Funded by the ERDF, the free support is estimated to be worth up £1,000 – and at the end, companies can also apply for a further £2,000 towards IT equipment.
Jon Leighton, Managing Director at iResources, said: “Taking part in the business support programme was very useful - the advisers were informative and made it enjoyable.
“Getting the funding for the IT hardware at the end of the programme was the icing on the cake. We received £2,000, which we matched.”
The national survey, by Talk Talk, asked 1,000 SMEs nationally about their investment priorities for 2015.
In total, 27 per cent were optimistic about achieving growth in 2015, with technology cited as one of five top priorities to achieve it.
Nine in ten of those surveyed said good broadband connections were crucial to their success.
As well as providing business support, Go Digital Newcastle - run by Newcastle City Council - offers local SMEs, charities and social enterprises government-funded connection vouchers worth up to £3,000 to get connected to superfast broadband.
iResources, based in Charlotte Square, specialises in ecommerce, allowing consumers to exchange goods and services electronically.
“Our company specialises in ecommerce for a wide range of clients, from start-up businesses to companies that turn over between £5-10m a year,” said Jon.
“So it is important to ensure we have a wide range of knowledge to cater for all.
“Go Digital Newcastle business support has really confirmed that we are doing the right things for our clients, and helped our processes, effectiveness and efficiency.
“We feel that was reflected when we were nominated for Effective Client Services, Creativity, Innovation and Ecommerce in the RAR Awards a few months ago.”
RAR is the Recommended Agency Register, and finalists are selected for their performance using ratings and references directly from clients.
Cllr Michael Johnson, Newcastle City Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Skills, Business and Enterprise said: “As the national survey shows, SMEs really appreciate the benefits of superfast connectivity; it helps them to promote their products and services, and contact their customers more easily.
“Go Digital Newcastle’s free business support provides companies with the expertise that, combined with superfast broadband, helps them really kick on and turbo-charge their business.”