01/07/2014

£150k Rural B2B Fund To Help Local Businesses Thrive Through Innovation

Creative England are delivering the Rural B2B (Superfast Broadband) Fund to be rolled out across the North, the Midlands and the South West of England.

Investments of up to £25,000 are available to innovative SMEs, as the fund aims to open up new opportunities for creative businesses with innovative digital solutions for companies based in rural locations. The type of businesses to benefit from this kind of B2B solution could include, but not limited to, agriculture, food, engineering, renewable, transport or visitor economy.

The support of Lincolnshire County Council highlights a belief that this fund can help stimulate business growth in both rural Lincolnshire and throughout England’s rural business community, they will also work to promote all funded projects, from any of the eligible regions, to Lincolnshire businesses.

Ideas for applications could include anything from apps that measure your carbon footprint to industry specific auction websites or intelligent tourism apps. The options are limitless, as applicants are asked to come up with the best digital B2B solutions for the rural market.

These new digital solutions could take advantage of the superfast broadband infrastructure, and are asked to ultimately deliver products or services that help local businesses in the eligible regions.

Jim Farmery, Director of Business Development, Creative England, says: 

“At Creative England we are passionate about helping our creative industries thrive and creating economic growth in the regions. The Rural B2B fund aims to give cross-sector support to SMEs across England and provide investment to those with innovative creative potential.”

The programme is funded by the Regional Growth Fund and managed by Creative England in partnership with Onlincolnshire, who are supporting applications from all of the eligible regions.

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development at Lincolnshire County Council, said: 

"Over the next few years we'll be dramatically improving broadband speeds, and we want to make sure local businesses within the eligible regions are in pole position to reap the benefits.
"We're already providing a wide range of support to help our firms make the most out of digital technology, and this project will take things another step forward."

The application process begins with a simple online eligibility check and an invitation to complete an expression of interest application. Following on from this, submissions will be checked and, if successful, businesses will be invited to submit a full online application to illustrate the business case for investment. The application will also require a 50/50 Match Funding input.

To submit an expression of interest and to apply, head here

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