Nearly £12m has been awarded to SME manufacturing businesses across England today to boost their growth and address key skills issues they face.
The Manufacturing Growth Programme has been extended until September 2021 and will help a further 2,400 companies to tackle barriers to growth, with the potential of creating 2,500 new jobs.
Support can be used for a broad range of improvement projects, such as continuous improvements, environmental and sustainability, leadership and management, people and skills, productivity and quality and strategy.
Funded by ERDF and delivered by Economic Growth Solutions (part of Oxford Innovation), the Manufacturing Growth Programme is available to SME manufacturers who have are looking to grow and improve competitiveness while increasing turnover, creating new jobs and introducing new products, services and processes.
Alexandra Auger (pictured above) founded The Juice Executive in 2014; the Kent-based manufacturer of cold pressed juices and cleansing packages tapped into the expertise of the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) to help with strategy, structure and process flow.
There were 5.7 million SMEs in the UK in 2018, which accounted for more than 99% of all businesses
It is crucial these businesses are supported in their growth
It is available to businesses in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, parts of the East Midlands, the South East and now within the Solent and Enterprise M3 regions.
The additional funding aims to provide a more valuable level of assistance from a local Manufacturing Growth Manager. An in-depth business diagnostic and comprehensive action plan will be provided as part of the new programme, alongside improvement grants starting from £1000.
In response to feedback, a series of manufacturing themed workshops have also been added and will be available from this summer to help bridge current skills needs within manufacturing businesses and support future skills requirements.
“In October 2016, we were given the task of setting up a programme capable of delivering dedicated business support to SME manufacturers,” explained Martin Coats, operations director of Oxford Innovation. “We have achieved that.
In 2018, manufacturing firms accounted for:
5% of businesses
10% of employment
14% of turnover (BEIS)
“Over the course of the last two and a half years, we have helped more than 2,000 SMEs to identify and overcome barriers to their growth and this has added millions of pounds to the local economy and created in excess of 3000 jobs, safeguarding thousands more in the process.”
Supporting manufacturers is not easy, and often a tailored approach to each business is needed.
“The £11.8m extension will provide enhanced support to more SME manufacturing businesses, as well as having the opportunity to add further value to those companies we have already supported,” commented Dean Barnes, regional director of the Manufacturing Growth Programme.