SME manufacturers have limited time to access £1.9m funding

Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Matej Kastelic

There is less than a year left for SME manufacturers to access over £1.9m worth of grant funding and support opportunities through the Manufacturing Growth Programme.

Since October 2016 MGP has supported more than 2200 SME manufacturers identify their barriers to growth, improve their performance, create over 1400 new jobs and exceed growth expectations through more than £3m grant funding. MGP is scheduled to close its doors to ambitious manufacturers and provide free advice and support by the 31st March 2019.

Support can be used for improvement projects, such as marketing, business strategy, leadership and management, R&D, lean manufacturing, productivity and capacity, quality systems, supply chain development and more.

Projects are being achieved through an 19-strong network of experienced Manufacturing Growth Managers (MGM) that work with the SME manufacturers and create plans for growth and improvement. Manufacturers have access to industry specialists to implement those growth plans and the opportunity to apply for an average grant of up to 35% of the total project cost.

The Manufacturing Growth Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by Economic Growth Solutions (EGS). When starting the programme in October 2016, EGS’s aim was to support and drive growth in local economics through making a difference to businesses.

To date, this has been achieved. Creating over 1400 new jobs and a further 600 expected to be completed by the end of the programme. MGP has helped companies across the UK to grow, develop new products, improve their processes and quality and support the economy.

Martin Coats, Managing Director of EGS, explained: “It’s great to see we are playing our role in supporting manufacturers and getting under the skin of what support firms need to be able to make sustainable growth.

“Our manufacturing experts understand the language MDs are talking and can guide them on making the right decisions, before bringing in specialists on specific issues they are facing or opportunities they’re looking to explore.”

He continued: “More than 2200 companies have now been assisted and we’ve created more than 1400 new jobs…those are apprentices, operatives, experienced engineers, R&D specialists. The impact across the UK has been phenomenal, supporting firms as far North as York, as far South as Kent, as far West as Hereford and as far east as Ipswich.”

“We now have £1.9m of grants to deliver but the window is getting smaller. We want manufacturers to come forward and see how they can take advantage of the assistance on offer before it’s too late.

“It’s never been easier. The process is quick, the scope of support can be tailored to the exact needs of the business and the results are making a real difference.”

Helen Annis, Commercial Manager of New Holland Extraction commented: “MGP has a very simple application process compared to other grant schemes, which means it really is an incentive to focus on “doing” improvements rather than procrastinating. SME’s are not resource rich and the MGP allows us to do work we couldn’t by bringing in external resources.”

Kevin Quinn of Vacform Group stated: “The whole experience was very refreshing, would definitely recommend both the MGP and the consultant to other SME manufacturers.”

Alex Auger founder of The Juice Executive commented:“The MGP support has unleashed our full potential and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with our MGM to launch new products.”

Apostolos Papadopoulos, MD of Crop Intellect Ltd commented: “The process of working with the Manufacturing Growth Programme has been simple, straight forward and very efficient. Everything has gone really well, and the funding will be of massive help as our business continues to expand its operations and sales potential. Although we are only a small business at present we have very big plans which will hopefully create jobs over the coming years – accessing support such as the MGP is a real benefit to us and we hope to access more support in the future.”

Chris Brierley, MD of Cotsold Raw Ltd said: “It has been a very successful project for us and the process of dealing with the EGS process has been seamless. A big thanks to you and our MGM.”

Craig Peach of CP Cylinders commented: “It was a breath of fresh air to be supported so efficiently by our MGM and I was extremely impressed with the EGS system and how quick and smoothly things ran.”

Ian Smith, MD of Oset Bikes Limited said: “The ease of the process made the programme application very worthwhile and painless. A very high value project, full marks to our MGM and to the programme as a whole.”