Organisations in Greater Manchester are being invited to take part in Digitober, a month focused on bringing together businesses from across the region to help combat digital exclusion and close the digital divide.

Delivered by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), the campaign is a response to the widened levels of digital exclusion the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted.

It reports that Greater Manchester has seen rapid digital transformation across all business sectors, as organisations have been forced to innovate and adapt their businesses to switch to online.

But this digital transformation has left some residents and businesses at a disadvantage, such as older people, people living with a disability and people from low-income households.

GMCA Lead for Employment, Skills and Digital, Cllr Sean Fielding said Digitober could help to close this divide.

In Greater Manchester we want to make sure that all our residents and businesses can benefit from the opportunities that digital can bring.

“It is estimated that around 200,000 people are ‘digitally excluded’ across Greater Manchester. This pandemic has demonstrated the importance of tackling digital exclusion to ensure that no one is left behind, it is integral that everyone should have fair and equal opportunity to digital technology.

“However this pandemic has also acted as a catalyst which is accelerating digital inclusion efforts. Digitober is a great opportunity for our businesses to showcase the work they are doing to combat digital exclusion, to all come together and pledge to do more to tackle this issue in Greater Manchester. I am looking forward to being involved in events throughout the month.”

The GMCA are set to host an event with a specific focus on Greater Manchester’s commitment to digital and addressing digital exclusion as well as inequalities across the region. The event will feature speeches and announcements from Cllr Sean Fielding and Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

The Digital Leaders Week event will also include a panel discussion with speakers from Barclays Digital Eagles, Diverse and Equal and The Stockport DigiKnow Alliance.

Digitober will also include; Switch to Digital Week, a week of webinars and panel discussions for people exploring a career change to find out more about working in the sector, delivered by Manchester Digital and the GMCA.

The month also features Get Online Week , organised by the Good Things Foundation, which is dedicated to helping people gain and improve their digital skills.