SPARC (South Pennines Area Rural Connectivity) is a business-inspired initiative enabling small and medium-sized enterprises across the South Pennines to realize the opportunities and benefits of the digital economy.
SPARC's origins can be found in the DigiChampz Initiative, an EU Commission-funded project that aimed to showcase the European Union's flagship Digital Agenda policies. The South Pennines area provided the case study for DigiChampz, a project which was jointly managed by the Digital Policy Alliance and e business consultants E RADAR.
SPARC promotes the implementation of an economic strategy that supports rural prosperity, community inclusion and social well-being enabled through digital technologies. We champion small / home-based businesses looking to open up new global markets using the Internet. We support a dynamic multi-skilled workforce to help reduce commuting into our larger towns and cities, improve productivity, keep spend local, and to improve the work-life balance for us all.
To achieve all these goals, we promote fit-for-purpose broadband in all our rural towns and villages. SPARC is supported by the HD8 Network, Holmfirth Events and Holmfirth Enterprise and Development (HEAD).
SPARC champions organisations across the rural South Pennines looking for competitive and collaborative advantage online. We:
- identify funding opportunities, apply for and manage projects to enhance and develop the region's digital economy;
- seek to understand the commercial and social responsibility needs and requirements of business users of digital technologies;
- promote advocacy, help and support to business digital users;
- provide an independent, peer-to-peer forum for users to discuss challenges and issues
- work with multiple-solutions technology and digital service providers
- work in partnership with other non-commercial organisations who share our vision and goals.
You can read SPARC's proposed Digital Strategy for the South Pennines region here