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North East organisations partner on £2m programme to break down barriers in digital


May 24, 2021

A group of sector organisations in the North East have partnered up with the North of Tyne Combined Authority to help businesses and organisations to increase productivity, efficiency, and resilience by adopting digital technology.

Delivered by Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley, Generator, Voluntary Organisations’ Network North East (VONNE) and Steam Digital, the newly launched £2million Digital Pathfinders programme will break down barriers in adopting digital by providing fully funded support to over 500 businesses, charities and organisations across the North of Tyne over the next three years.

The programme was made possible through funding from the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s £10m Digital Growth and Innovation Programme and the national Digital Catapult.

“The programme comes at a welcome time as we’ve seen real market failure in the field of digital transformation”, comments Adam Hill, Head of Digital Adoption at Digital Catapult NETV. “The need to build economic resilience through digital has been clearly evident over recent months, but the risk to invest in digital remains significant for many organisations within the region.

“With the wide array of digital tools available on the market, it can be difficult to understand which ones to work with in order to achieve organisational success.

“Furthermore, even when a company knows it needs to invest in digital, it can be difficult to find the right supplier. We know the North East is home to a network of talented tech SMEs, but if you’re not within the tech network, it can be difficult to learn about them.

“Through Digital Pathfinders, we will support organisations from all sectors to find their digital route to success and collaborate with the region’s talented tech sector. Whether it’s a voluntary organisation looking to address cyber security, a retailer exploring new ways to sell online, or a manufacturer seeking to improve productivity, we can help.”

Digital Pathfinders will deliver support to businesses, charities and SMEs through a range of workshops, events, and one-to-one support from a team of experts. The programme is officially set to launch at the launch event on the 15th of June. The event will feature a panel of local business and community leaders who will share learnings from their digital transformation journeys.

Cllr Nick Forbes, Cabinet Member for Business Competitiveness at North of Tyne Combined Authority, said: “Covid-19 has demonstrated the critical importance of digitally enabled and agile business models. We are working with the regional tech sector, to invest in a future that supports, recovery, and growth in North of Tyne. 

There is untapped potential for digital to help successful SMEs innovate, improve efficiency, and increase profitability in the post-Covid economy.

Our Digital Pathfinders programme – delivered in partnership – provides free and independent advice to businesses and VCS organisations. Together we have a bold ambition to unlock the benefits of digital across our whole economy.”