Digital & IT

Published: May 21, 2020 | Updated: May 21, 2020

Silicon South launches Mission 21 supporting digital, creative, tech sector after £450k boost

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Silicon South is on a mission – Mission 21 to be precise – to support Dorset’s Digital, Creative and Tech (DCT) sector after receiving a £450,000 cash boost.

The not-for-profit organisation, dedicated to accelerating the digital economy in Dorset, heard last week it had secured the funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

Anthony Story, Director, described the decision – nearly a year after the application was first submitted – as “wonderful news.”

He added: “This will make a big difference and means we can really press ahead with our plans to get the sector back on top for Spring 2021.”

The coronavirus crisis has especially hit the DCT sector hard with lost clients, lost revenues and furloughed staff.

By common consent, trading conditions have never been worse with little chance of normality returning before next year.

Until then, said Anthony, pictured left, every business had to survive, adjust, plan, innovate – and do what was necessary.

“Somone said to me that the current situation is like driving a bus at speed with all the people you love on board into thick fog.

“But after the initial shock, there is a much more positive feeling about moving forward.

“We want to be there with support for people to adapt and thrive.

“Co-designed with other industry leaders, the ‘Mission 21’ programme is all about support, collaboration and promotion,” he said.

As a first step the Silicon South Network is now free for every Dorset DCT company to join until at least this October.

Previously businesses paid a subscription to sign-up as a member.

Direct support for businesses and leaders from Silicon South will include:

  • Grants of £1k to £5k match-funded with business growth grants.
  • Access to specialists and mentors to help address challenges and opportunities.
  • Director Discussions described as intimate regular meetups for closely-matched peers.
  • Topic-relevant workshops interrogating core themes of a business strategy.
  • Shared research summaries of industry trends and in-depth insight reports.
  • Meet the Buyer – sit downs with decision makers from prospective clients.

Keeping up the confidence, skills and abilities of staff – as well as preparing the next generation for their first jobs – will include:

  • Facilitated Skills Development Groups.
  • Nurturing new talent with a central channel to universities and colleges.
  • Pathway for placement, apprenticeships and employment.
  • Lobbying and pitching for funding.

Anthony said: “We are stronger together.

“Sitting in the middle, Silicon South sees the amazing talent all around.

“We’re happy to provide support, as usual, but right now there’s a unique opportunity for the sector to come together, support each other and ride out the stormy economic climate.

“The aim will be to emerge stronger, fitter and ready to take on the world – whatever it looks like.”

  • Anthony will be outlining Mission 21 and the plans for Dorset’s DCT sector. including the new grants programme, today, Thursday May 21, at 1.30pm. Register free here.