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Digitalisation and automation

Evidence shows that businesses that have introduced digital and automated operations will see increased benefits in productivity, employee performance and a reduction in operating costs, leading to faster more sustainable growth. 

Ashfields business innovation and digital technology programme

As part of the new Accelerator Programme funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), the programme is being delivered by East Midlands Chamber to offer support to local businesses to improve commercial operations and bring new products to market. Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) will have access to specialist consultants to explore and adopt new technologies and take advantage of any national programmes such as Innovate UK EDGE and Made Smarter.

Made Smarter - East Midlands

The Made Smarter East Midlands programme was created to help digitize UK manufacturers. Funding up to £15,000 capital grant may be available to help you with robotics, lean manufacturing, additive manufacturing, Industry 4.0, VR, augmented reality, sensor analytics and data integration.  This project can provide you with a digital transformation road map, leadership development, capital grant funding and access to industrial digital technology expertise to help with implementation. 

The Big House Accelerator 

This programme provides free support to enable established creative and digital small businesses within the Nottinghamshire and Derby region. SME’s can access tailored workshops, talent grants up to £3000 and mentoring specifically designed for established businesses who have been trading over 12 months. This is being delivered by Nottingham Trent University Enterprise team.

Barclays Eagle Labs

Barclays have been awarded a £12 million digital growth grant by the government, to create several support programmes  that will assist tech businesses across the UK. These programmes will run for 2 years and are aimed at boost the growth of UK tech start-ups and scaleups.

They have the following programmes:

  • Product builder programme - A challenge based programme for early stage start-ups so they can learn about the fundamentals of designing and testing a minimum viable product
  • Funding readiness programme - Designed to help growing businesses understand and navigate the UK’s funding landscape
  • Scale up programmes - Delivered by expert partners to provide rapidly growing businesses with the support they need to further scale their growth
  • Industry bridge programmes - Bridging together larger businesses and start-ups within industry sectors to share strategic thinking and to co-create solutions and innovation
  • Black founder venture growth programme - Targeted support for established Black Founder-led businesses to help them drive growth and scale
  • Female founder accelerator - A programme that connects and supports Female-founded technology businesses in their growth journey, whilst building a community of likeminded entrepreneurs.

You can learn more about these free support programme:

East Midlands Cyber Resilience Centre

East Midlands Cyber Resilience Centre (EMCRC) provide free membership, support and help to protect small and medium businesses across the region against cyber crime through a structured collaboration. EMCRC works in conjunction with local universities, businesses and the 5 East Midlands police forces - Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, and Northamptonshire.

Enterprise Nation Business Connected

Business Connected provides a series of free workshops, webinars and e-learning modules, designed to help businesses kick start digital change, adopt new technology, and stay safe.

Amazon Small Business Accelerator

This is a free online educational programme for anyone who wants to start or grow a business online. Aspiring business leaders will be able to access more than 20 courses and over 50 videos of content on essential topics, such as ‘how to build a business online’, ‘supercharging operations’, ‘growing sales’ and ‘creating a social media presence’, bringing the best in class from the country’s small business experts and Amazon leaders.

Gigabit Broadband voucher scheme

Small and medium enterprises, and social enterprises located in rural areas can get a voucher worth up to £4500 for a business to help cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband. Small and medium enterprises for this scheme are classed as having up to 249 employees and an annual turnover of no more than £36 million and/or an annual balance sheet total not over £18 million.

Page last updated: 22 November 2023