More than 1,000 small to medium-sized UK manufacturers have been given a business boost over the past 10 months thanks to a new £9.7m business support initiative.
The Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by Economic Growth Solutions (EGS), has helped companies across the UK to grow, develop new products and overcome production issues that were previously holding them back.
This has reportedly already led to 400 new jobs, with an additional 359 positions expected to be created once ongoing projects are completed. By the end of July, £1.6m of grant contributions have been made, with money in place to support another 2,200 firms between now and March 2019.
The success of the Manufacturing Growth Programme to date proves that that there is a real appetite from SMEs for targeted business support that can help them grow, according to Lorraine Holmes, CEO of EGS.
Holmes added: “One thousand beneficiaries is just the start. We’ve still got a lot of grants to deliver and we want manufacturers to come forward and see how they can take advantage of the assistance on offer. It’s never been easier, as the process is quick and the scope of support can be tailored to the exact needs of the business.”
The Manufacturing Growth Programme was set up to fill the void left by the Manufacturing Advice Service (MAS) by providing access to specialist assistance to help manufacturers to grow and improve.
This is being achieved through an 18-strong network of experienced manufacturing growth managers (MGM), access to industry specialists and the opportunity to apply for an average grant of £1400, rising to a maximum £3,500.
Support can be used for leadership and management, R&D, lean manufacturing, productivity and capacity, quality systems and supply chain development.
Graham Turner, managing director at Dudley-based Bryland Fire Protection, used the MGP to boost sales by £2.7m to a record £9.2m.
He commented: “The process was nothing short of incredible. It allowed us to take a step back from day-to-day activities and look at why we are successful and where our core expertise lies. One of the outcomes was to have a concerted push on supplying solutions to data centres and that is already paying off with many new contract wins.”