OUTLINE plans to deliver a network of Regional Digital Hubs across Stirling and Clackmannanshire have been approved by the City Region Deal Joint Committee.

New, high quality, digitally connected business space will be set up across Stirling and Clackmannanshire under the programme, allowing growing companies to stay local and create new and exciting opportunities across the area.

Backed by £2million of investment from the Scottish Government through the £90.2m Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, the hubs will be established in Cowie, Callander and Clackmannanshire to benefit urban, rural and disadvantaged areas of the region.

Cllr Ellen Forson, leader of Clackmannanshire Council, said: "The Digital Hubs will align with the Stirling & Clackmannanshire City Region Deal's Skills and Inclusion Programme, which will deliver training through businesses, schools, STEP, Forth Valley College, the University of Stirling and local partners.

"The spread of the hubs across both Stirling and Clackmannanshire will also ensure the benefits from the City Deal's digital projects are not restricted to a single Digital District in Stirling.

"In particular, the hubs will help improve collaboration between digital projects in Stirling and Alloa as the latter establishes itself as an international centre for environmental data and I welcome this decision as we continue to deliver on the promises of the City Region Deal."

The Regional Digital Hubs programme echoes the need for crucial investment in infrastructure identified by a recent review of Scotland's technology ecosystem.

The investment in the Regional Digital Hubs will enable businesses and individuals to access local hubs that provide support and expertise to explore the commercialisation and exploitation of new digital technologies and high-level digital technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence and informatics.

Cllr Scott Farmer, Stirling Council leader, added: "Within 10 years, the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region aims to be recognised as one of the UK's leading areas for digital technology and as a centre of excellence for digital skills and education across a number of sectors.

"We're well on our way to achieving that in Stirling City Centre, but this investment will help us grow beyond that by creating modern, fit for purpose spaces for businesses and individuals in the digital sector and elsewhere across the Stirling and Clackmannanshire region.

"The project will bring businesses together and foster innovation and rapid growth through collaborative working and targeted business mentoring and support."