New £3.9m fund offers digital support for Liverpool city region SMEs

Backed by the European Regional Development Fund, LCR4 START will aim to support at least 200 business over three years. Tony McDonough reports

LCR4 START
Team tasked with the delivery of LCR4 START

 

Small and medium-sized business across Liverpool city region are being offered access to a new £3.9m fund to help them maximise the benefits of digital technology.

Backed by the European Regional Development Fund, LCR4 START will aim to support at least 200 business over three years and will be led by the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC), part of the University of Liverpool, and delivered in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, Sensor City, Science and Technology Facilities Council and the Growth Platform.

Fully-funded business support will be available to qualifying SMEs in the Liverpool city region operating in any industry sector.  The VEC and its partners will support the SMEs in the development of an effective digital strategy and offer practical, hands on support.

The aim is to enable them to identify opportunities to develop and deploy digital technologies to unlock business gains, growth and savings and, if appropriate, further funding.

Lynn Dwyer, chief commercial officer at the VEC, said: “We are hugely excited to be leading on a project that we think has the potential to be transformative for Liverpool’s SME community.

“Many smaller businesses are lagging behind in digital transformation because they lack the time and resources to identify their digital needs and do not have the skills or financial resources to access and effectively use digital technologies and tools.

“What that does is create a widening gap between SMEs and their larger competitors. We hope this support programme will help SMEs seize the opportunities presented by digital technologies such as sensors and virtual reality which may previously have seemed out of reach.” 

LCR4 START follows in the footsteps of LCR 4.0, a successful ERDF-funded project involving the group of project partners which, to date, has created more than 80 new jobs and supported in excess of 300 SMEs across the region.

SMEs interested in accessing the support offered by the new initiative can contact Simon Reid, Sector Manager Advanced Manufacturing, on 0300 456 3565 or email simon.reid@growthplatform.org

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