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Could you do with 5k to improve your digital operation?

by  David Dwyer on  10/06/2015    1673 Reads

Could you do with £5K to improve your digital operation?

The Digital Scotland Voucher Scheme is being written about by lots of people – except for the ones who are supposed to be promoting it.  Nowhere on any Scottish Government or local government site will you find any mention of it.  Even on the Business Gateway site there’s zilch – and they’re the ones who are deciding who gets the grant and paying it.

But the Voucher Scheme is alive and well, and you could be eligible.  It applies to businesses all over Scotland who have expressed interest in the scheme through Business Gateway and who fall into one of three categories.  You must be either a Growth Advisory Service company, a High-Value Startup or a Potential High-Value Startup (High Value seems to be £70,000/year or more).

As the name suggests, the money is aimed at companies that want to build or improve their website, including accessing e-commerce and international markets; develop specific software; improve SEO; train staff to use software; and improve their online marketing, including content marketing, social media and analytics.  However, the money can’t be used for pay-per-click advertising, in-house staff costs (you can hire an external trainer but not pay staff wages during training), off-the-shelf software, hardware or VAT, and it has to be used for new initiatives, not on-going business.

One area of confusion seems to be how much you can actually get.  There’s general agreement that the vouchers are valid for 75% of your costs (ex VAT), and that the maximum amount is £5000.  However, one blogger, who says he spoke to Business Gateway, says the voucher is worth 75% of the £5000 (i.e. £3750); another, who mentions Scottish Enterprise, says that the £5000 can be used to cover 75% of the total cost (i.e. you can spend up to £6666.66). 

My advice would be to get in touch with your local Business Gateway as soon as possible to get the right answer straight from the horse’s mouth, find out if you qualify and register your interest.  The Voucher scheme may not be being widely promoted, but it won’t last forever and the sooner you move the better.

If you’re not sure which of the projects on your wish-list to spend the money on, come and have a chat with Inspire IT Services.  One of the things the money can be used for is to create a digital strategy for your business and, with our years of planning experience (we have PRINCE2 accreditation), we can definitely help you with that.  Actually, we can help you with most of the things on the “permitted use” list, from designing and building your new e-commerce website with built-in translation facility, via writing bespoke software for you, to promoting your business online via content marketing and social media management. 

As I said, this money won’t be available forever – so the sooner you talk to Business Gateway and to Inspire the better.  Don’t put it off!

David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of  web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.

 

Follow Inspire on Twitter @inspireltd and @developersos

 

Business Gateway Marketing Grant, Digital Scotland Voucher, Google Analytics, Inspire Web Development, Inspire Web Services, Scottish Enterprise Grant, Search Engine Optimisation (Web Copy), The Evolving Web, Web Consultancy, Web Design
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