IT team have finger on the pulse

EAST of England firms are to be offered a free IT health check by a new team of specialist Business Link advisers. The team of five will help businesses diagnose their IT needs and encourage the adoption of IT for business survival and growth as part of the takeITon programme, funded by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

EAST of England firms are to be offered a free IT health check by a new team of specialist Business Link advisers.

The team of five will help businesses diagnose their IT needs and encourage the adoption of IT for business survival and growth as part of the takeITon programme, funded by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

The package is designed to close the gap identified by an EEDA report which showed that businesses in the East of England were lagging behind in IT.

Funding for the advisers has been provided as part of the £2.8million takeITon campaign, which will see a package of measures delivered to businesses in the region over a three year period.


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The team will give independent professional advice on how firms can improve their IT by making better use of what they have, helping them understand how they could benefit from a strong, integrated IT structure or simply help reduce people's fear and resistance to using IT.

Businesses that are keen to grow through IT may also be eligible for match funding to help them adopt new IT infrastructure.

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EEDA has provided £200,000 for a grant scheme this year, with Business Link administering the grants, which provide up to 40% up to a maximum of £4,000 of the cost of IT packages supporting the implementation of IT and e-commerce improvements in their businesses.

Team members Tony Franklin, Bill Hamblin, David Marsh, Keith Padbury and Shahed Patel expect to meet around 2,000 businesses in the next year, the equivalent of £2million in consultancy fees.

EEDA chairman Richard Ellis said a strong IT infrastructure was “critical” to improving the productivity and efficiency both of individual businesses and the prosperity of the region as a whole.

“The takeITon campaign will help raise awareness of the importance of IT for businesses and will provide practical advice and support delivered through the new team of specialist Business Link IT advisers,” he said.

Pat Smith, chief executive of Business Link in the East of England, added: “Every company that meets with an adviser will come away with an independent audit that will help them plan and develop their IT systems going forward. This is a great opportunity for businesses to increase their productivity and ensure a prosperous future for their business.”

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