The Digital Transformation Flexible Fund (DTFF) is a demand led grant scheme aimed at establishing a Northern Ireland wide fund to stimulate digital innovation. It seeks to address the financial barriers to the adoption of advanced digital technologies as a means to achieve business transformation amongst small and micro businesses.
DTFF will provide up to £7.5 million of funding for businesses to invest in advanced digital technologies and capital equipment (hardware, software/bespoke system development). It is underpinned by funding from the City and Growth Deal Complementary Fund, DAERA and the Derry and Strabane Growth Deal.
DTFF capital investments are wholly in the ‘innovation arena’. They will enable business transformation rather than ‘digitisation’ of existing business models or operations.
The programme is expected to be delivered from September 23 to March 25 and has a target of 604 applicants across all of Northern Ireland.
DTFF will be managed and delivered by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council through the existing Full Fibre Northern Ireland (FFNI) consortium which comprises of all 11 of Northern Ireland’s local councils.
Delivering digitally driven innovation is a shared ambition across the NI City and Growth Deals. The Digital Transformation Flexible Fund has been developed to assist small and micro businesses to be active in digital transformation, supporting inclusive growth.
DTFF seeks to establish a capital grant fund, aimed at supporting small and micro businesses (including social enterprises), including those in rural areas, to be active in digital transformation. It will help provide financial support to invest in capital equipment (hardware, software/ bespoke system development) in advanced digital technologies/tools including:
|Smart technologies/ smart environments, the Internet of Things (IoT) and simulation
|Process automation via robotics/cobotics, additive manufacturing
|Big-data and analytics
|Immersive Technologies (AR/VR/MR/Haptics)
|Artificial intelligence and machine learning
|Horizontal & vertical system integration, distributed ledger systems/ blockchain technologies
The DTFF Offer
DTFF will enable the purchasing of capital equipment and/or resources for ‘off the shelf’ software solutions and/or bespoke system development. Grant intervention levels will be 70% of eligible costs with 30% match funding to come from the applicant.
It will be open to small and microbusinesses from all sectors (with the exception of primary agriculture, forestry and fisheries) that are VAT registered and with a 12-month minimum trading history.