The average cost of a business transaction, web based = 15p, phone = £2.83 and face to face = £8.62

90% of consumers use the internet to research purchases. However, over a third of small to medium enterprises don't use the internet or have a website

Small to medium enterprises (SME's) with an online presence are growing 3-5 times more quickly than those without

88% of Brits use social networking sites

In 2010, the internet economy was worth 8.3% of the UK's GDP by 2016 it will be over 12.3%

The proportion with increasing turnover is twice as high amongst those utilising online technology

Business Users

Many businesses that can already access fibre broadband are using it to maximise growth, expand their customer base and improve their bottom line. In Leicestershire, there’s a surprising amount of people who work from home and a large number of businesses operating from family homes.

By having fibre broadband, not only will you be able to benefit from faster upload and download speeds. You can also run meetings by video link and reach customers through new, faster, and easier to track methods of communication like Facebook and Twitter. Alongside programmes such as cloud based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, with high speed fibre broadband you can access the same tools as larger companies – with the same benefits, but for a fraction of the cost.

Read about the great real life benefits that a faster and more reliable broadband connection could have to your business on the Leicestershire Digital Growth Programme’s website , hear first hand from successful businesses in Leicestershire about how they have used improved digital connectivity to grow their business.

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

This recently launched £67m scheme is a government led initiative intended to help create a full fibre Britain. It is primarily aimed at SMEs who can claim up to £3,000 against the cost of the connection to a gigabit (1Gbps) broadband network either individually of as part of a group project.

Residents are able to benefit from the scheme, however can only apply alongside an eligible business at a maximum ratio of six residential applicants per SME. Residential funding can account for half the funding total, equivalent to £500 per resident.

The scheme is supplier led and therefore only accessible through broadband service providers; the vouches are issued directly to the suppliers by government to offset the cost of the infrastructure installation.

It does not matter if applicants can already access superfast broadband speeds of 30Mbps or more. The initiative is focused on gigabit speeds, equivalent to 1,000Mbps.

To apply: 
a) Check which approved suppliers are active in the area by using the postcode search:


b) Choose a supplier and contact them to ask for a quote. They will take care of the voucher application. It may be worth speaking to more than one supplier and to neighbouring businesses or residents who may also be interested.

For the full details of the scheme visit the national government Gigabit website.

The Rural Gigabit Voucher

As part of the Government’s Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme business and residents in some of the hardest-to-reach places in the UK are eligible for additional funding towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband to their premises when part of a group project.

Rural premises, experiencing speeds below 30 Megabits per second (Mbps), will be eligible for between £500 and £3,500 per small and medium-sized businesses (SME) and between £500 and £1,500 per resident to support the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections.

To find out more visit the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s website

The following summarises how the extension will work:
• Rural areas are identified by postcode in all parts of the UK
• Vouchers can only be used in group or project schemes
• Resident only projects are permitted
• Connections must be gigabit capable but the minimum speed taken by the customer is 30 Mbps

Guidance for rural community groups who want to initiate a group scheme can be found on the community group web-pages

Digital Growth Conference

Booking is now open for next year’s conference, visit the Digital Growth website.

The Digital Growth Programme runs events, workshops, and seminars throughout the year to support SMEs to learn and grow, with their conference being a highlight of their calendar. Find out more about their current events here.

The Digital Growth Conference is an annual event hosted by the East Midlands Chamber and Leicestershire County Council. The aim of this conference is to help businesses across Leicester and Leicestershire make the most of the very latest in digital technologies.

2019’s Digital Growth Conference was held on Thursday 11th April at Leicester Racecourse and was attended by over 400 business people.

The event, which was opened by Cllr Trevor Pendleton, was a great day full of inspirational and empowering industry experts.

Superfast Broadband is a complete differentiator…if you can get superfast broadband from Superfast Leicestershire then do it”.

TedX Speaker and former managing partner at IBM, Andrew Grill

Digital Growth Conference 2018

To attend events like this and to make use of the hundreds of courses and classes organised by the Digital Growth Programme, delegates must register their business with the Digital Growth programme, but registration is free.

You can watch this years’s highlights below:

Unlocking the digital potential of rural areas – research

Rural England CIC and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) have launched a research project, supported by Amazon, to explore the economic potential where businesses in rural areas take-up digital opportunities arising from broadband, mobile and other networks.

Owners, directors and managers from rural businesses across the UK are invited to take part in a survey that will provide valuable information to a key part of the project.

The research collected from the survey aims to understand better:

  • How to grow the digital economy in rural – areas through e-commerce, exports and productivity gains;
  • The level of digital skills and capabilities in rural areas and how to improve them;
  • What digital tools and services best support rural businesses;
  • What enables some businesses to relocate successfully to rural areas;
  • The business sectors in rural areas likely to gain most from digital technology;
  • The best rural locations to set-up and manage a digitally-empowered business.

Survey responses will be treated in confidence and we encourage you to share the survey with other rural businesses you might know. The survey should take no longer that 10 minutes.

Complete the survey or find out more on unlocking the digital potential in rural areas

Business Support Service

Leicestershire County Council contracted the Chamber of Commerce to deliver a business support service to boost innovation, growth and job creation. More information is available on the Business Support Service page.

Case studies

Since the beginning of this project there have been a number of businesses who have upgraded to fibre broadband. Read our case studies to see what a difference it could make to your business no matter how large or small.

Useful links