A programme to encourage the quarter of Scottish businesses that are not online to make use of the internet is to be rolled out across Scotland.
Infrastructure Secretary Alex Neil has announced an £864,000 investment in the Highland and Islands to help small and medium sized companies (SMEs) exploit digital opportunities.
More than 350 companies in the area are being supported to get online and make better use of broadband through the ICT business engagement programme. The programme will then roll out across the rest of Scotland in the coming months.
Support will include workshops, seminars and events to help companies develop their own ICT action plans, and an online Business IT Guide with factsheets, diagnostics and an "ask the expert" resource.
Announcing the programme at the Think Digital Conference in Glasgow, Mr Neil said: "As part of the Digital Infrastructure Action Plan, we are keen to improve business skills and digital participation rates across Scotland. To do this we need to support our SMEs to build an online presence and drive business through the internet.
"The ICT engagement programme in the Highlands and Islands will complement the next generation roll-out activities already under way led by Highland and Islands Enterprise.
"The programme will provide additional resources to engage with businesses not online and support and develop their knowledge and capability to exploit the benefits of having an online presence and trading online."
The Scottish Government said that the programme will ensure that SMEs in the region are able to upskill, and thereby to increase their business turnover, which will in turn, boost the local and national economy.
The two-year ICT engagement programme will lever in additional investment from Highland and Islands Enterprise and Business Gateway.
The Scottish Government has already committed funding of up to £1 million each year over the next few years to support work in relation to the digital economy.