In October 2016, SME manufacturers were given a major boost through a new £9.7m business support initiative and were looking to support over 3200 companies across the UK.
The Manufacturing Growth Programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by Economic Growth Solutions (EGS), has promised to fill the void left by the Manufacturing Advice Service (MAS) by providing access to specialist assistance to help manufacturers to grow and improve.
By the end of January 2018, more than 1800 SME manufacturers had benefited from the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) by receiving more than £2.6m grant contributions to help make improvements by identifying, understanding and removing barriers to growth.
Thus, resulting in a boost to the economy by creating over 1000 new jobs with an additional 570 forecasted to be created once open projects have been completed. The MGP has also helped support more than 170 clients create new to firm products developed within the UK.
Support received has been given as a direct result of a Strategic Business Review from an 19-strong network of experienced, local, Manufacturing Growth Managers. This review determines what barriers are in the way for their growth potential and what support is needed to overcome those barriers.
Since October 2016, the highest barrier with 15% of clients, has been identified as ‘Continuous Improvement’, followed by ‘Environmental’ and ‘Marketing and Market Knowledge’ with 12% each. As a result, 24% of clients were given support in ‘Marketing and Market Knowledge’ to enhance and sustain their growth ambitions with a further 15% completing an improvement project on ‘Business Overview and Strategy’.
With up to 35% grant funding, MGP works with manufacturers and external experts on a range of improvement projects from Business Strategy and Marketing to Productivity and Leadership and Management.
Martin Coats, Managing Director of Economic Growth Solutions commented on the success so far: “We have achieved so much in such little time and this could only have been done with the trust and hard work from our dedicated team we have in place. From the field team to the Project Coordinators in the office, everything has been exceptional and we have received overwhelming feedback from clients, external experts, stakeholders and the industry as a whole.
“The programme has to be delivered by March 2019 so we want companies to come forward and take advantage of this assistance. It’s never been easier as the process is quick and the scope of support can be tailored to meet the exact needs of the business.
“Our aim is to continue delivering business support programmes such as MGP, for the time being our focus is predominantly on MGP as we continue to deliver fantastic results to the UK manufacturing economy. Martin concludes; “Industry has withstood a lot of economic turmoil and come through the other side, now we’re here to help maximise the most of new opportunities.”
Shropshire electrical motor firm, Motor Design commented on working with the programme. “The Manufacturing Growth Programme has been fantastic for accessing funding, which has allowed us to work with experts in business management,” he said. “This has enabled us to put a series of measures in place that support the growth and sustainability of our company.”
Leicestershire based company Adey Steel Limited comments: “We continue to value the support given from MGP and Economic Growth Solutions to our ever-growing business. Many thanks especially to our Manufacturing Growth Manager.”
Funding is in place to help over 3200 firms to tackle operational issues, help support SME manufacturers make the most of new opportunities and to boost the skills of their workforce. To find out more visit www.manufacturinggrowthprogramme.co.uk, call 01664 501301.