Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 11.46.04SUNDERLAND businesses are set to go superfast, thanks to an event that shared details of a new scheme to improve the city’s connectivity.

Sunderland Software Centre played host to a range of businesses earlier this month [Thursday, July 9], at an event to share more about the Government’s Broadband Connection Voucher scheme, which was launched in April to help businesses achieve more by investing in faster internet connectivity.

Among the businesses in attendance was Martin & Co Sunderland Letting and Estate Agents.  Juli Poulton, a director at the company, heard from one of the event’s speakers, Stephen Parker from Digital Allies, about the benefits businesses can see by making the most of their online presence, in particular their social media channels.

Juli said: “I found Stephen’s workshop really useful from a business oversight and planning point of view and his advice around how to present our business more professionally, taking a consistent approach across the board was great.

“I will definitely consider a more targeted approach moving forward that concentrates on quality digital marketing as opposed to quantity and concerns over the number of followers and likes on social media.”

Steven Parker, who is a director at Digital Allies, said: “I’m keen to support the digital agenda in Sunderland, so it’s nice to be able to use my skills from the last ten to fifteen years to provide some impartial advice to the business community.

“There’s a genuine feel good factor across the city and digital platforms will play a key part in the continued growth of businesses in the area.”

As well as advice from experts on social media and digital marketing, attendees heard about how they could apply for the Connection Vouchers, which allow companies to claim up to £3,000 to help with broadband installation costs.  Businesses can also apply as a group to connect bigger or more complicated premises.

The vouchers were introduced in the city in April, and will be available until April 2016.

Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The event was a great opportunity for businesses to learn about the Connection Vouchers scheme, as well as ways in which a strong online presence – aided by having internet connectivity – can bolster their business.

“We are living in a digital age, in which businesses anyway can trade with other businesses and individuals on a global stage.  Having access to a limited pot of money, to improve connectivity in the city, is a great boost for our businesses and I really would encourage them to make use of this, and unlock the potential that fast, reliable broadband connections unlocks.”

As well as businesses, landlords were invited to attend the event to find out how the scheme could benefit them, and add rental appeal to their property.  More than 12,000 businesses across the UK have benefited from the scheme since its launch.  

For more information about the scheme visit www.connectionvouchers.co.uk. Or to find out more about Sunderland Software Centre – which is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013 – visit www.makeitsunderland.com, email info@makeitsunderland.com or call +44 (0)191 561 1194.

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