SC-34aSCORES of Sunderland businesses are set to learn how stronger broadband can help them grow, at a free event being held next month.

Small businesses, social enterprises, registered charities and landlords are being invited to find out more about the Government’s Broadband Connection Voucher scheme, at an event being held at the Sunderland Software Centre on Thursday, July 9.

The scheme is part of a Government-led initiative to improve business’ productivity.  It provides up to £3,000 to help with broadband installation costs, and businesses can also apply as a group to connect bigger or more complicated premises.

Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The scheme is a boost for businesses in the city, as we know how important a fast broadband connection is to help companies to unlock their growth potential.

“We want to make sure that small businesses have the technology they need to compete in the digital age, and so we are keen to do what we can as a council to encourage businesses to take up this opportunity, particularly as it is only available for a limited time window.”

The event is being split into two parts, with Steven Parker of digital marketing consultants, Digital Allies, delivering a two-hour online marketing workshop covering topics such as social media, managing your web presence and protecting your brand online.  All are key skills to helping businesses grow and prosper.

Landlords are invited to come along later in the morning to find out how the scheme can benefit them and add rental appeal to their property but they also have the option to attend the earlier workshop.

There will also be a chance for suppliers and landlords to network with SMEs and web security company NCC Group, and the internet service provider Metronet UK will also be on hand to offer advice to businesses. There will be the opportunity for one-to-one discussions to help give a detailed overview about the scheme and allow for any questions.

More than 12,000 businesses across the UK have benefited from the scheme since its launch.  The scheme became available to Sunderland businesses in April, with only one year to make use of the vouchers.

To register for the event and find out more about the broadband grant visit www.makeitsunderland.com/superfast.  For more information about Sunderland as a place for software and digital businesses, visit www.makeitsunderland.com, follow @MAKEitSund, find them on Linked In or email info@makeitsunderland.com or call +44 (0)191 561 1194.