Small businesses urged to join Digital Surge Programme as places fill up

  • The Digital Surge Programme, which provides support to small businesses that want to explore advanced technologies, is urging companies to sign up before all spaces are allocated.

    The project, led by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, is now at two-thirds capacity, having already helped over 120 local businesses embark on their digital transformation journey.

    Martin Naughton, chief executive of Galvia Digital and lead mentor on the programme said: “We have helped businesses discover how technologies such as Blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality and Cobotics/Robotics can be used to address business challenges around growing and scaling.”

    By taking part in Digital Surge, companies from a broad range of sectors can gain a deep knowledge of these technologies and learn how to integrate them into their business in a cost-effective, practicable and accessible way.

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    The programme also appeals to those that are simply looking for baseline knowledge in these areas, with guidance on how one or more could be implemented into its business processes.

    Digital Surge offers:

    • 6 days of fully funded mentoring support from advanced technology experts and practitioners
    • workshops and masterclasses on innovation and the advanced technologies
    • a strategic digital action plan and signposting to further support.

    Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Alderman Stephen Ross said: “The Digital Surge Programme has now passed its halfway point and has been hugely successful, with over 120 companies from a range of sectors taking part. We have seen numerous examples of how the programme has been transformative for small businesses, demonstrating the role technology can play in improving productivity, increasing efficiency and accelerating growth.”

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    One company which availed of the project, SeeMe Ltd, hailed Digital Surge as “most worthwhile”. Chief executive Mary Blake commented: “I would highly recommend the Digital Surge Programme. It has really helped me develop my business concept and identify direction for growth, giving me real confidence as a start-up to explore new ways of incorporating digital technology into my business as it grows."

    She continued: "It also helped me to understand advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Big data, explore which technologies could help me and which would be less beneficial, which would work now and what I might consider in the future. Some of the highlights of the programme included the one-to-one mentoring and acceleration plan, with a leading digital expert and founder. It was facilitated to develop my idea, challenge my thinking, and make me more customer-focused. The mentoring helped me to identify future supports and helped me to secure further funding.”

    Digital Surge is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland, the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme, as well as all 11 local councils in Northern Ireland.

    There are still some places available on the programme. For more information and to apply, visit the Digital Surge page here.

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