Are you a South Yorkshire based business? Are you looking to start selling online? Good news – you may be eligible for up to 50% funding to develop an e-commerce store or online project!

Get in touch now or read on for more information.

The South Yorkshire Digital Innovation Grant is now open for applications for 2022 – you need to act quickly to secure funding, and we can help!

What is the South Yorkshire Digital Innovation Grant?

Digital Innovation Grants (DIGs) are now available to aid SMEs across the South Yorkshire region leverage digital technology to access new markets, develop and scale new products and services, and discover new ways of working to promote cost-efficiency across your business activities.

This scheme was introduced to support businesses in adopting and implementing digital technology to boost productivity, growth, and make SMEs more competitive. In total, the Digital Innovation Grant is a £2.6 million project, with 50% of this funding provided by the European Regional Development Fund and the remaining 50% raised through the private sector.

DIG is not a first come first served government discretionary grant, and is instead delivered through a rigorous and competitive process. Applications are ranked across a variety of factors and will be contacted within 10 business days of the submission date with a verdict.

A banner for Digital Innovation Grant

How Much Can I Claim with the Digital Innovation Grant?

The maximum amount you can claim on the DIG is £5000. There’s also a minimum amount of £1000, with projects having to total between £2000 and £10,000.

This is because as an applicant you must provide at least half of the funding for the project you’re applying for; for example, if you apply for a website related project that costs £4500, you would need to provide at least £2250.

It’s also important to note that Digital Innovation Grants are not paid in advance. If we take the above example project, that means you would have to provide the entire project cost of £4500 up front, and then claim back the grant.

A black and white photograph showing two men in an office on laptops discussing business

Am I Eligible to Apply for the Digital Innovation Grant?

Let’s start with the easy ones – your registered office or trading address needs to be within the Sheffield City Region (encompassing Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield). You must have a business bank account linked directly to this specific business too – any applications asking to be paid into personal accounts will be rejected.

You also have to be an SME. This means you have fewer than 250 full-time employees or volunteers and a turnover of less than €50 million – it doesn’t matter if you’re a sole trader, LTD or a not-for-profit, as long as you fit the SME criteria you’re eligible to apply.

Here’s where things get a little deeper. DIG make it clear that applicants can not only serve local customers; if this is you, don’t worry, because as long as the project you’re applying for funding for is something that will help you serve customers outside of the local area, you can still apply.

For example, if you’re currently a bricks and mortar store selling from your storefront in Sheffield, you wouldn’t be able to apply for funding for a project that helps you sell more from this store to the local area. If you wanted to apply to get grant funding for an ecommerce store to help you sell nationwide, however, you could still apply!

Unfortunately for some, DIG has excluded the following sectors from the application process: Fishery & Aquaculture; Primary Production; Agricultural Products; Synthetic Fibres; School-Age Education; and Banking & Insurance.

A shop window showing an open sign

So What Can I Get Grant Funding For?

According to the DIG application form, applicants “must be applying for a new digital project that enables or accelerates the development of ‘new to the firm’ products or services, gives access to new markets, and helps to safeguard or create jobs”.

This statement encompasses a variety of different things, from CRM systems to App Development, but as we’re a web design agency we think it’s especially important to point out that E-Commerce Solutions and Consultancy Costs are eligible from the South Yorkshire Digital Innovation Grant scheme.

Providing a list of potential projects as examples within the application literature, Enterprising Barnsley specifically highlights e-commerce projects as suitable, using the following example:

A business investing in a new fully e-commerce enabled website, which links through to its stock control/inventory system, allowing the firm to increase its customer base and offer a seamless user experience.”

A close up photograph showing two people at a desk working on laptops

What Can Wilkes Wood Help With?

Firstly, we have experience in assisting small businesses in their Digital Innovation Grant applications, and can even offer a free eligibility check, as well as access to a specialist consultant who will help you with your application for free.

That’s right – we’re offering a free eligibility check and access to a consultant that can optimise your application.

Secondly, we’re e-commerce specialists and if you’re a SME based in the Sheffield City Region, we’d love to be your design and development partner for a DIG eligible project. 

Whether it’s a one-product store, a dropshipping project or an e-commerce store capable of meeting complex requirements, we’ve got the experience to help you start selling online. You can sell in multiple currencies, mix physical and digital products and services, use industry leading integrations and apps such as Klarna, implement personalised promotional codes, customise shipping options and much, much more.

Where Can I Find More Information?

The Digital Innovation Grant is handled by Enterprising Barnsley – their website is where you can find all literature on the grant scheme, and here is a link to download their official application guidance PDF.

If you want any advice, additional information, or want to take us up on our offer of a free eligibility check and optimising your DIG application, get in touch today! 

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