Call 1 of the DTFF is now open – apply by 6 December 2023
The Digital Transformation Flexible Fund (DTFF) offers funding for eligible Northern Ireland-based micro and small businesses to invest in advanced digital technologies.
This funding supports businesses to embark on a ‘digital transformation journey’ geared to the integration of new emerging digital technologies into key areas of their business, fundamentally changing how they operate and/or deliver value to customers.
Call 1 of the DTFF is now open to expressions of interest (EoIs) until 6 December 2023.
Applicant eligibility criteria
To be eligible to claim from the DTFF, applicants must:
- be based in Northern Ireland and within one of the 11 council areas
- be a small (10-49 employees) or micro business (1-9 employees)
- be VAT registered
- have been trading for at least twelve months
- have a Digital Transformation Plan or equivalent
- have a project centered on one or more of the six advanced technologies in scope
The programme is open to all sectors with the exception of primary agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
Project eligibility criteria
The advanced technologies eligible for DTFF funding include:
- smart technologies or environments, the Internet of Things and simulation
- process automation via robotics or cobotics, and addictive manufacturing
- big-data and analytics
- immersive technologies (including AR, VR, MR and haptics
- artificial intelligence and machine learning
- horizontal and vertical system integration, distributed ledger systems and blockchain technologies
Funding will only be provided for the purchasing of capital equipment and/or resources for ‘off the shelf’ software solutions and/or bespoke system development.
DTFF will not cover the digitalisation of existing business systems – for example, the development of e-commerce and business websites, social media strategies, search engine optimisation, purchasing of IT equipment etc. It will also not cover the ongoing revenue costs of leasing software nor any ongoing maintenance, update or training costs, which should be borne by the applicant.
If you are unsure whether your project is eligible or ineligible, you can contact a member of the DTFF Operations Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much is available
The DTFF grants are worth between £5,000 and £20,000 for an investment project. If eligible, the grant can fund up to 70% of the cost of the total value of a project.
All DTFF-supported projects will require a matched co-investment from applicant companies at a minimum of 30% of the overall project costs.
How to apply
Before submitting a full application, it is highly recommended that you attend one of the DTFF pre-briefing sessions taking place throughout November across various days and locations. Find a list of DTFF pre-briefing sessions and register to attend.
You should also read the full DTFF applicant guidance for a detailed overview of the programme, eligibility and how the funding is assessed.
After this, you should submit an EoI via the DTFF website.
The deadline for submitting EoIs is midday on Wednesday 6 December 2023.
Once you submit your EoI, the DTFF Operations Team will assess it to confirm if your business is in principle for the support. If eligible, you will be invited to work towards submitting a full application for funding.
In order to claim from the DTFF, successful applicants will have to complete an Innovate NI Innovation Assessment in order to draw down funding.
The Digital Transformation Flexible Fund (DTFF) is delivered by all local authorities in Northern Ireland under the Full Fibre Northern Ireland Consortium (FFNI) and supported by Invest NI. The project is part funded by the NI Executive, UK Government, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and all local councils in Northern Ireland.