BUSINESSES in Bradford are being urged to apply for new funding worth £1,000 towards the costs of upgrading their broadband connection.

Connectivity Vouchers are available to small and medium-sized enterprises in the Leeds City Region under the Digital Enterprise programme.

The vouchers are the newest initiative to be offered by the publicly funded programme, which was set up to help businesses grow by improving their connectivity and digital infrastructure.

This year it has invested £1.7m in digital projects that are set to deliver a £5m boost to the regional economy along with more than 1,200 jobs.

“Connectivity Vouchers are a really convincing offer to smaller businesses. They represent a straightforward one-off £1,000 contribution towards the cost of installing faster broadband,” said Digital Exchange programme manager, Muz Mumtaz.

“A growing number of broadband suppliers are now on board and the funding can also be used towards expenses such as construction costs, if a road or pavement needs to be dug up, as well as hardware such as a new router or firewall.”

SMEs in the Leeds City Region, which includes West Yorkshire and York as well as Craven, Harrogate and Selby, are eligible for the vouchers.

Mr Mumtaz said: “A rapid internet connection is a basic requirement for almost any business to succeed and grow these days. Superfast connectivity opens the door to a world of cloud-based resources which can be transformational, particularly to a small business, and Connectivity Vouchers are designed to provide that vital help many smaller firms need to progress their digital upgrade.”

Funded by the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, its nine local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund, Connectivity Vouchers are aimed at small businesses whose current download speeds are less than 30 mbps; firms in areas with poor network coverage; as well as those involved in high levels of data transfer with a defined business need for improved transfer speeds.

“Since Digital Enterprise launched in February we have worked with some fantastic businesses across the Leeds City Region who have seen efficiency and growth take off as a result of some savvy investment in digital technology,” added Mr Mumtaz.

“A fast broadband connection is essential to harnessing the potential of technology and, with no matched funding required from the business, the new Connectivity Vouchers are a fantastic no-cost opportunity to boost long-term productivity and growth.”

Businesses can check their eligibility online at