Small and medium (SME) manufacturers in the West Midlands have been given the opportunity to apply for a percentage of a £6.5m funding boost to help with recovery following the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The fund is to help manufacturers reopen and with any key barriers to growth.
The Manufacturing Growth Programme, which is funded by ERDF and delivered by Oxford Innovation Services, has recently been extended until December 2022 and aims to give a further 2,800 companies access to a pool of relevant industry experts and the grants to tackle any immediate business concerns and support any future plans for the firms to grow.
This additional backing has the potential to help safeguard and even create hundreds of jobs in the West Midlands and means the total amount of support the initiative has been able to offer to date is now £18.3m.
Firms who are successful will be given access to a dedicated Manufacturing Growth Manager, who will work with the firm using the GROWTHmapper – a diagnostic tool – to develop a personalised business plan and help by supporting the firms with business projects, ranging from environmental improvements, management and leadership advice and marketing ideas and concepts and even help developing the quality of their supply chain.
“All the media attention is on the headline manufacturers and how they are coping in the wake of Covid-19…it’s our job to look at how the smaller companies supporting these big businesses are performing and what we can do to help them,” said Martin Coats, MD of the Manufacturing Growth Programme. “Our track record in delivering on-the-ground expert support was pivotal in us securing an additional £6.5m of funding that is ring-fenced for ensuring SME manufacturers can overcome barriers to growth and return to doing what they do best…making things.” He continued: “Helping manufacturers is not easy and you need a tailored approach, delivered by experts who know what it is like working in industry. The Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), their local Growth Hubs and the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government have seen first-hand the value we add to firms in their respective areas and this has resulted in a further commitment to support us for another two and a half years.”
The Manufacturing Growth Programme is to date the only dedicated business support programme for SME manufacturers in the West Midlands and is very proud to have delivered over £3m of grants since its launch in October 2016.