Businesses across the Black Country are to get advice and support on how to utilise superfast broadband to help them prosper.

Wolverhampton City Council is administering the Black Country Broadband Business Support Project that aims to help around 12,500 small and medium sized enterprises to grow.

Funding of £250,000 was secured from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to deliver the scheme and will be match funded by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership through the Growing Places revenue pot.

The project will assist eligible SMEs in connecting to a superfast broadband network, and to fully understand and exploit the commercial benefits offered by it.

Support that companies will be offered includes:

  • one to one advice on how to take advantage of superfast broadband services
  • an ICT diagnostic review to assess their connection requirements and what other ICT services they could benefit from
  • seminars and workshops to share good practice amongst businesses and showcase new products

Tim Johnson, Wolverhampton City Council's Strategic Director for Education and Enterprise, said: "This is an excellent initiative aimed at helping thousands of businesses prosper.

"Superfast broadband can have a huge impact and help firms grow but some might not be in a position to take advantage of this.

"This funding will allow us to give businesses the help and support they require to benefit from such services."

Norman Price, Deputy Chair of the West Midlands ERDF Local Management Committee said: "Over the past few years, huge amounts of investment have been made in local areas to provide access to broadband services.

"We need to ensure that local businesses are ready and able to realise and embrace the opportunities this brings.

"For businesses in the Black Country this project does just that. An integrated programme of support is on offer and I am pleased that £250,000 of ERDF funding has helped put this in place".

Simon Eastwood, Managing Director Carillion Developments, and Black Country LEP Board Member said: "This is an excellent step towards the achievement of our ambition to ensure that full and effective superfast broadband coverage is available to the majority of businesses in the Black Country.

"I am delighted that the Black Country LEP, through Growing Places, has been able to directly support businesses, through this project.

"Over the next few months we will be working with Broadband UK, and our local partners, to secure funding that will enable us to meet our ambition by 2017."

For more information about the project, please call Wolverhampton City Council Business Development Officer Mike Shields on 01902 550469.

  • released: Tuesday 29 April, 2014