University of Warwick manufacturing programme secures £6m extension

The SME Group at WMG, University of Warwick, has secured a £6m extension to their programme to help small manufacturing companies in the East and West Midlands.

The programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult at WMG, is designed to support Midlands manufacturers, helping them overcome manufacturing challenges, improve productivity and boost their competitiveness.

The WMG team behind the programme has a wealth of industry experience, with expertise in materials and manufacturing, sustainability, digital manufacturing and business transformation.

Since being introduced two years ago, the SME Group programme has helped more than 100 companies in the West Midlands. As a result, over 70 new products and processes have been developed, ranging from automation and productivity plans through to the zero emission technologies of tomorrow.

One company that has benefitted from the programme is Genius Facades, a construction firm in Wolverhampton, which gained a 15% increase in productivity after its factory floor was digitised.


Credit: WMG, University of Warwick

The WMG SME team improve the shop floor productivity at Genius Facades


Another example of the programme directly benefitting businesses is Power Panels Electrical in Walsall, which won £3m worth of contracts in the Niche Vehicles sector after receiving help from the team.

The funding extension will allow an additional 250 manufacturing companies across the Midlands to benefit from the programme, which will now run until at least March 2023. This means the WMG team has gone from having a two-year £5m programme, to an £11m over 5  and a half-year programme.

The £6m extension will enable the WMG team to operate from Wolverhampton and Worcestershire in the West, to Loughborough and Luton in the East Midlands.

Dr Mark Swift, head small business programmes at WMG, University of Warwick, said: “The support we offer will be especially helpful in light of Covid-19, as after months of lockdown businesses can be helped to get back on their feet and thrive.

“We are here, ready to help our region’s manufacturing companies; to make manufacturing technology and thinking work for you, to help our businesses to grow become more productive and sustainable and ultimately make more in the UK.”

If you are a local manufacturing company interested in the programme you can contact wmgsme@warwick.ac.uk


*Image credit WMG, University of Warwick