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West Yorkshire SMEs in internet windfall as Superconnected scheme expanded

Over 27,000 more small businesses in Wakefield, Kirklees and Calderdale have become eligible for a grant of up to £3,000 to help them boost their internet connectivity.

Over 27,000 more small businesses in Wakefield, Kirklees and Calderdale have become eligible for a grant of up to £3,000 to help them boost their internet connectivity, after the extension of the government-funded Superconnected Cities scheme to include the whole of West Yorkshire.

The Superconnected Cities scheme, which awards ‘connection voucher’ grants of up to £3,000 to individual businesses to cover the costs of installing high speed broadband, is part of a nationwide programme to boost high-speed internet connectivity among SMEs.

Previously available to businesses within the Leeds and Bradford districts, and delivered by Leeds City Council, the expanded scheme will make the grant funding accessible to 27,365 additional businesses across the Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield districts with immediate effect.

Mark Goldstone, head of business representation & policy at West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce said: “This is a huge boost to business in West Yorkshire, and means this transformational technology grant is now available to almost 80 per cent more firms than before. 

“Superfast broadband is a business critical resource for many companies, and these vouchers take just minutes to apply for and don’t require any match funding.”

Leeds and Bradford have seen the UK’s highest take up rates for the vouchers and this month became the first area outside London to issue more than 1,000 connection grants since the Superconnected Cities programme was launched in February 2014.

Mark Durham of Superconnected Leeds Bradford, which administers the grants to eligible firms, welcomed the broadening of the scheme, saying: “We have worked hard to ensure as many Yorkshire businesses as possible get access to this funding before it closes.

“Over 99% of businesses across West Yorkshire are now eligible for a grant, so we hope to see a flurry of applications and many new connections to the superfast network. Great high-speed web connectivity is one of the easiest and most effective ways to transform the efficiency of a business and broaden its capabilities

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for transport and the economy said:

“Leeds’ connection voucher scheme has been a massive success story and the fact it is now going to be rolled out to other local authorities in West Yorkshire is proof of this success.

“Administered by Leeds City Council – at no cost to us – the expansion of this scheme is important to make sure as many small and medium sized businesses as possible in West Yorkshire benefit, which all helps towards building a strong regional economy.”

 

Eligible SMEs by District:

District

No. of SMEs

Go live Date:

Leeds

22,460

Original Scheme

Bradford

12,960

Original Scheme

Wakefield

7,840

22nd Jan 2015

Calderdale

7,065

22nd Jan 2015

Kirklees

12,460

22nd Jan 2015

 


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Feb 9, 2015