Digital Innovation for Growth
Free digital support
Digital Innovation for Growth (DIfG) is a free service that helps SMEs in the Sheffield City Region* make the most of digital technology, so you can grow your business, improve your products or services, maximise efficiency and adopt new ways of working.
Our academics can support your business through bespoke research and innovation-based consultancy. We also run free practical workshops and events for businesses interested in learning about new digital technologies and how they can be implemented in your business.
As part of the programme, you can access state-of-the-art design, prototyping and testing facilities at the DMC 02 MakerLab located in The Seam at Barnsley Digital Campus to test new products and ideas.
We’ve already supported businesses in the region to advance their technologies. Find out how local SME Porterdale Ltd used the programme to improve their commercial decision-making, profitability and cash flow.
*The programme is available to SMEs across the Sheffield City Region, as well as Chesterfield, North-East Derbyshire, Derbyshire Dales, Bolsover and Bassetlaw.
Key areas of support
Our academic experts and business consultants can help you with a variety of techniques and processes including:
- Artificial intelligence - mirroring human skills and capabilities with technology
- Data acquisition, monitoring and analysis - sensor technologies inside your system to optimise processes and maintenance
- Data analytics - understanding and discovering more large and diverse data sets
- Embedded systems - designing dedicated systems inter-operating with and controlling devices and sensors
- Interaction design - ensuring that systems are well designed for their users’ needs and experiences
- Networks and cyber security - ensuring safe, secure and reliable communication and information exchange
- Smart technologies - digital systems which monitor, learn and adapt to their environment
- Software engineering - future proofing the design, development and integrity of software
- System level electronic design and prototyping - a blend of off the shelf system components and custom designed circuitry
- Systems integration - increase performance, efficiency and quality whilst reducing cost
State Aid and Brexit
*Digital Innovation for Growth (DIfG) is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and support provided by the programme is classified as State Aid, delivered through De Minimis (EC regulation No 1407/2013).
The ERDF programme is covered by Article 138 of the Withdrawal Agreement. This requires that the ERDF programme continues to be delivered in accordance with all applicable EU law for the remainder of the programme. This means the ERDF requirements regarding state aid remain exactly as before the UK left the EU.
However, as of the 1 January 2021, projects must take into account potential cumulation with UK subsidies which fall beneath the applicable threshold (expressed as Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)) of the new UK subsidy control regime (as set out under Article 3.2(4) of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (“TCA”), Chapter 3 (Subsidy Control)).
The total of De Minimis Aid and Special Drawing Rights should not exceed €200,000 as set out in Article 5 of the de minimis regulation.
For example, a company received:
- €100,000 of de minimis aid in 2019
- €50,000 of de minimis aid in 2020
- €25,000 of aid under the SDR system
It has received €175,000 of cumulated aid and may receive no more than €25,000 of de minimis aid within the limit of €200,000 of de minimis aid in three years.
Beneficiary SMEs must fully complete DIfG Form 1 with details of state aid received in the last 3 years to allow assessment of eligibility, taking into account previous de minimis aid and subsidies considered SDRs, before the support commences. You may wish to seek your own expert advice on this.