Herefordshire Council Secure European funding to take a lead in helping local businesses grow
8th July, 2013
Herefordshire Council is leading a European project, which has secured £1.3m of INTERREG IVB North West Europe (NWE) funding, to deliver a full package of advice, mentoring, and support to help businesses in the county fully exploit the potential of faster broadband.
The project, called CREATE, is being led by Herefordshire Council with partners from the European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology, VOKA the West Flanders Chamber of Commerce from Belgium, Nievre Numerique in France, Scottish Enterprise and Mid-West Ireland, and is focused on helping small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas make sense of their broadband needs and assist them to exploit the opportunities that faster broadband offers.
The county is already bringing faster broadband to rural areas through its Fastershire Broadband Project, by building a new world class broadband network which will deliver faster broadband to over 45,000 homes and businesses in the county by the end of 2016.
Angela Fitch, Development Manager for Federation of Small Businesses Shropshire, Herefordshire & Worcestershire, said: "We are delighted Herefordshire Council have secured this European funding through INTERREG IVB NWE. It will enable businesses in Herefordshire not only to get access to the tools and support they need to compete locally and nationally, but it will also enable them to work with businesses across Europe to share best practice and learning."
Councillor Graham Powell, Herefordshire Council cabinet champion for broadband, said: "The investment that this county has made in broadband infrastructure is estimated will boost the local economy by almost £15m a year. With this European funding through INTERREG IVB NWE we can ensure businesses receive the support and advice they need to compete in a global market, and realise the benefits of faster broadband."
Support and advice through the CREATE project will be free to SMEs in Herefordshire and will include:
- Specialist support through business advisors
- Access to e-guides providing ideas on how to use broadband effectively
- Access to virtual cloud clusters enabling businesses to collaborate with others regardless of their location.
- Access to specialist experts to help businesses up-skill, network and collaborate to develop new products and markets.
The international launch for the CREATE project will be held in September 2013 in Herefordshire.