The new CQ Connect programme is a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funded scheme that will provide connectivity vouchers business can use to enhance their connection speed and grants to help them purchase additional equipment.
The Creative Quarter recently undertook a survey of businesses in the area about their broadband provision. Nearly 70% of responders said their current broadband provision was basic and 90% said they would be interested in applying to this fund to improve their digital connectivity. More than half the businesses also felt that better connectivity would mean they could introduce new products and services.
Speaking ahead of today’s launch event, Councillor Nick McDonald, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Growth, said: “The recent survey was a great opportunity to hear opinions on the connectivity issues businesses currently have and what benefit greater broadband provision could have on their development and growth.
“Improving digital connectivity for businesses in the Creative Quarter was a key promise for the City Deal to enable entrepreneurship to flourish. I’m really pleased to see the CQ Connect programme launching today, which will have a positive impact on business growth in the Creative Quarter.”
CQ Connect is aimed at supporting small and medium sized businesses and is open to non-retail businesses based in the Creative Quarter.
Through the scheme up to £3,000 is available per business for digital vouchers to enhance connectivity speeds, plus a programme of technology grants to help businesses upgrade their office networks to make better use of improved connectivity. Businesses will also be able to collaborate to get improved broadband into their buildings.
Craig Chettle, Managing Director of the Confetti Media Group said: “High-speed connectivity is essential for the creative industries and we continue to benefit from having Ultraband. When working on Channel 4’s ‘This is England’, we were able to transfer hours and hours of footage in just a few minutes. CQ Connect is just starting but over time it will be game-changing – it will level the playing field ensuring that businesses in The Creative Quarter can compete with companies in London and further afield.”
A launch event for CQ Connect is taking place at 5.30pm on 3 April 2014, at Antenna in Beck Street, Nottingham. Businesses based in the Creative Quarter have been invited to attend to find out more about the scheme and how to make an application.