Highlands businesses offered funding and support on AI and robotics

Written by Jenni Davidson on 2 October 2019 in News
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Scottish Government entity launches technology and innovation programme for firms in the region

Credit: Shearings Holidays/CC BY 2.0

New funding has been announced to help businesses in the Scottish Highlands and islands benefit from digital technology.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) – a regional development agency of the Scottish Government – has launched a new £465,000 support programme for businesses in the Highlands and islands looking to develop their use of digital technology and innovation.

It will provide specialist advice and events on topics such as data innovation, artificial intelligence, sensors and internet of things , as well as robotics and cyber resilience, with more than 2,500 businesses across the region are expected to benefit from the programme over the next three years.

As well as businesses, the programme will also be accessible to established community groups and social enterprises.


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The programme was launched at a digital collaboration event at An Lochran in Inverness, attended by organisations including The Data Lab, Centre for Sensors and Imaging Systems (CENSIS), Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), DigitalBoost, ScotlandIS, EIT Digital, IoT Scotland and Interface.

Also announced was the creation of a new Digital Economy Programme Board and industry advisory group for Highlands and islands.

Meanwhile, a new collaboration between the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and Police Scotland, with support from the Scottish Government Cyber Resilience Unit will offer cybersecurity events and cybersecurity support for rural businesses across the region. 

David Oxley, HIE director of business growth, said: “This is about helping businesses become more productive, efficient and competitive through increased adoption and use of digital technology. The investment will also enable us to attract other funding through more collaboration and partnership initiatives.”

He added: “The programme aligns with digital provision available across HIE, as well as Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise and The Scottish Government.  It will focus on the ambitions set out by The Scottish Government Digital Strategy and Enterprise and Skills review for co-creation of programmes, collaboration, simplifying processes and achieving best value.”

Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes said: “The Scottish Government wants to put Scotland at the forefront of the digital and technological revolution, and create a world-leading digital economy. That can only be achieved by collaborating with, and drawing upon the experience and skills of, industry experts, academic leaders, and the business community in this country and further afield.”

About the author

Jenni Davidson is a journalist at PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood, where a version of this story first appeared. She tweets as @HolyroodJenni.

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