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Businesses urged to seek support to boost their online presence

Photo of Miranda Kirschel Miranda Kirschel, Head of Business and Innovation at Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership

Businesses in Cumbria are being encouraged to access a wide range of support as they bid to improve their online offer in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies for a range of uses such as remote working, collaboration and enhanced online sales and delivery capability.

Understanding where to go for help in improving digital capability has been seen as a block to progress for some. Now, however, Cumbria’s Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) is offering some timely advice.

BERRG is part of the county’s Local Resilience Forum and is the body responsible for developing Cumbria’s business and economic response to COVID-19.

BERRG member Miranda Kirschel, Head of Business and Innovation at Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP), said a useful point of contact for businesses would be Digital Tech Cumbria, a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) project administered within Cumbria by Allerdale Borough Council and delivered by Winning Moves.

She said: “Digital Tech Cumbria is an advisory programme designed to help businesses embrace digital technology and thrive. It is provided free of charge to participants and is worth up to £5,000 per business.

“It’s administered by Allerdale Borough Council but is there to support businesses across the whole of the county and includes a maturity assessment and advice on how to improve your digital capability.

“The programme is there to support a wide range of sectors across the county, with the added benefit of supporting retail, hospitality and tourism in the short term due to a relaxation of the European funding rules.

“In the current climate, it’s important that we all do as much as we can to point businesses in the right direction for help and support and creating a strong online presence is one way in which they can adapt and innovate to continue trading during periods of lockdown.”

Digital Tech Cumbria aims to provide assistance to at least 150 businesses across the county between now and 2022. Details can be accessed at:

There is also a range of subsidies that eligible businesses can access through Cumbria Growth Hub to help with a wide range of consultancy support including websites and other digital activities. Full details of the funding can be found on its website.

Miranda added: “The most important message is that business owners understand that there’s a wide range of support services available to help them survive lockdown and come out stronger.

“We would encourage all small business owners to reach out and understand the range of support that’s out there. Along with our partner organisations, CLEP is here to help in whatever way we can.”

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