The Lincolnshire Technology Hubs, as part of the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub offer, recently hosted project partners from across Europe from the CORA project (Connecting Remote Areas) to demonstrate how the hubs offer support to local businesses and business development in the county.
Across the three day visit, the Technology Hub teams discussed the challenges facing rural communities from a digital perspective, and shared their plans for a range of ‘pilot’ projects that will take place over the next two years across the facilities.
The key aims of the CORA project are to develop a digital infrastructure for a whole range of skills and services that local businesses can utilise, and to attempt to connect some of the more rural and remote areas across the county.
With the support of the Technology Hubs, those businesses can become better prepared for the future in terms of digital knowledge and resources. This is accomplished through knowledge sharing and digital inclusion, providing opportunities for upskilling and training, offering facilities for testing pilot projects and transferring knowledge to policy and decision makers in the EU.
Thirty five delegates from the six transnational consortium countries – Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway – visited the Tech Hubs, which are based in Horncastle and Lincoln, to hear about the successes and achievements of the projects so far, the challenges that have been experienced and overcome and the pilot activities that are planned. The Horncastle based facilities are managed by Morton’s Media and both Lincoln hubs are managed by the University of Lincoln.
These pilot projects will seek to test new solutions to improve the digital services and skills of residents and local businesses, including new models for cross-border fibre sharing, training services within local libraries, and implementing new fixed and mobile digital hubs for everything from business development to youth digital awareness.
Fiona Ashmore, who is the lead partner for the project, said: “Showing our European partners the Horncastle Technology Hub at Morton’s was a great experience: not only did they see what a hub in action looks like, they took away some valuable advice on what works, what doesn’t, and how the hub is supported within an existing business. The whole event left our partners feeling inspired and positive about tech hubs as a potential future addition to their rural areas”.
As part of the CORA project aims, fixed and mobile digital hub pilot projects are being explored within partner countries to help improve local digital environments, and to upskill local businesses and residents.
The visit to the Lincolnshire Technology Hubs, which have gained recognition for their existing future plans and innovation, gave the European partners the chance to learn how they can embed new processes into their own plans, by learning from the ‘flagship’ examples set in Lincolnshire.