Central Highlands Digital Enterprise Programme
Co-ordinated by CeRDI, the Central Highlands Digital Enterprise Programme (DigiBiz) provided businesses and not-for-profit organisations in local municipalities with the opportunity to learn more about harnessing the potential opportunities provided by the new broadband technology available in the Central Highlands region.
DigiBiz was a two year project and concluded in December 2014. During this period, 150 workshops were held with over 3,000 attendances. 700 organisations received post-workshop, one-on-one mentoring.
Launched in July 2012, the Central Highlands Digital Enterprise project (DigBiz) offered training and provided mentoring and advice to small-to-medium enterprises, not-for-profit organisations and local cultural institutions about the latest broadband technologies.
Additional approaches are also adopted to build awareness and participation in the project, including establishing networks across local communities, ‘training the trainer’, identifying network champions and facilitating forums by prominent Australians and broadband champions.The DigiBiz project received funding of approximately $1 million from the Commonwealth Government’s Department of Communications, together with funds from Regional Development Australia – Grampians, and significant in-kind contributions from local government partners the City of Ballarat, Golden Plains Shire Council, Hepburn Shire Council and Pyrenees Shire Council.
DigiBiz continues to provide a range of online resources to businesses, not-for-profit enterprises and community groups aimed at helping them do business in an increasingly digital-based marketplace.
The learning from the project will continue to be used through extension work in this area. Research examining the impact of the program has been undertaken. Information about the project has been widely disseminated through presentations at national conferences.
In the period to December 2014, the DigiBiz program delivered workshops and mentoring activities to over 3,000 participants representing a range of business and community organisations; the training activities were aimed at increasing the digital literacy levels of participants
An impact evaluation of the CeRDI-led Central Highland Digital Enterprise program was conducted during 2015 to gauge awareness of broadband capabilities and to assess skills development outcomes for program participants.
The impact research sought feedback from program participants, mentors and workshop facilitators; 100 program participants and nine mentor and workshop facilitators participated.
The research demonstrated that workshops and mentoring had been successful in broadening participants’ internet use within their businesses and organisations. The research also identified that the program had enhanced participants’ skills development, increased their awareness and understanding and provided them with general assistance across a range of online applications.