The programme will be delivered by a consortium of Northern Ireland businesses with £860,000 support from Invest NI towards the programme and local councils contributing £216,000.
The initiative aims to introduce local businesses to a range of digital tools through workshops, mentoring, masterclasses and network cluster events for small and medium sized businesses.
Kevin O’Connor, head of business with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said the Surge Programme would really complement the range of support initiatives already being offered by council.
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“Digital technology offers local businesses an amazing platform to showcase products and streamline services though many people find it daunting keeping up with the latest advances,” he said.
“The Surge Programme equips businesses with the knowledge to harness the potential of the most innovative digital tools which have the capacity to catalyse their growth and development.
“I would really encourage local businesses to check out the range of areas being explored, from Big-Data to Machine Learning, and how they can effectively use these exciting new technologies to fast track their way to success.”
Businesses completing the programme will come away with an Innovation Roadmap and Digital Acceleration Plan and will be onward routed to more intensive supports in the ‘digital innovation ecosystem’.
The advanced digital technology areas being covered by this programme include:
· Smart technologies/ smart environments and the Internet of Things (IoT);
· Process automation via robotics/cobotics;
· Big-data and analytics;
· Immersive technologies (AR/VR/MR/Haptics);
· Artificial intelligence and machine learning;
· Distributed ledger systems / blockchain technologies.
Gillian Colan-O’Leary, consortium project lead, said: “We are really looking forward to helping small businesses across Northern Ireland embark on their digital transformation journey.
“Businesses which recognise the role advanced transformative technology can play, at a strategic level, will certainly increase their growth potential, and we will provide the support they need to discover how to fundamentally change how they operate and deliver value.”
The programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland, the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme and all 11 councils in Northern Ireland.
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