Entrepreneurs back region’s digital drive

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A pioneering initiative to help some of the UK’s brightest potential digital entrepreneurs to launch their businesses has been unveiled in Sheffield by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

The Dotforge initiative was the brainchild of Sheffield-based Internet Service Provider Plusnet’s founder, Lee Strafford.

It is part of the Local Enterprise Partnership’s ‘CloudCity’ programme to boost economic growth by attracting technology based jobs to the Sheffield City Region and has been developed by the LEP and Creative England.

Using cash from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and private investors from Yorkshire, Creative England is providing finance, office space and intensive mentoring for six businesses, chosen from among 100 applicants.

The new businesses have been set up by people who come from the length and breadth of England and will have a base at Electric Works, on Sheffield’s Digital Campus.

Ideas include using Cloud technology as part of the process of buying a new car, a new social media concept and software that enables students and researchers to automatically search out information for the notes and citations needed for their papers

Creative England’s director of business investment, Jim Farmery, said: “Creative England aims to support small businesses in the creative industries and help them contribute towards economic growth.

“As the Sheffield City Region LEP shares our aim to nurture the digital and creative sector, this has been the ideal project to work together on and cement our partnership.”

Lee Strafford said: “The strong partnership between Sheffield City Region LEP and Creative England highlights new and innovative ways of creating the right support for economic growth.”