Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Manufacturing Growth Programme delivers business support plea after safeguarding 1,000 jobs in the East Midlands

A business support programme that has created and safeguarded over 1,000 manufacturing jobs in the East Midlands is urging local authorities to ensure assistance is still in place under the new funding landscape.

Bosses at the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), which provides grants and dedicated consultancy to SME manufacturers in the region, are warning that the potential gap between European Regional Development Funding and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) could see businesses left without the assistance they need.

Regional director Dean Barnes believes the fragmented nature of UKSPF – where each local district will receive its own pot of money – means it will be difficult to deliver good quality support to management teams that have guided their firms through Brexit and, more recently, COVID-19.

The rallying call comes as MGP reveals its latest performance data, with £1.93million in grants delivered to 1,066 East Midlands companies over the last three years.

This has leveraged £3.3m of private sector investment and helped manufacturers enter new markets, diversify their products/services, improve efficiencies and secure vital quality accreditations.

“We’re about to enter one of the most exciting, but challenging times in business support where the focus will fall away from ERDF and into a new landscape where each place (it could be as small as a District Council) will be given control of what they want to invest in and how they want to shape their local investment plan,” explained Dean.

“It is key that neighbouring councils work together to pool funding to deliver support at a regional level to ensure they get the most out of their budgets and reduce the amount of ‘business support’ noise in the marketplace.”

He went on to add: “The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is intended to help the Government’s desire to ‘level up’, but East Midlands businesses must have a voice on what they want.

“They don’t just need grant funding, they also want advice, best practice implementation and help with long-term improvements.”

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by Oxford Innovation Advice, MGP was launched in 2016 to create a targeted service to support manufacturing SMEs.

This focused on creating a team of Manufacturing Growth Managers who work with management teams on initially completing strategic business reviews.

From there, they provide grant funding and signposting services to specialists that deliver improvement projects in strategic planning, productivity and process improvement, competitiveness, innovation and leadership and management.

Nearly a third of firms so far have chosen to tap into marketing and market knowledge support, followed by a quarter choosing help to improve productivity and 14% wanting assistance with continuous improvement.

Jane Galsworthy, Managing Director of Oxford Innovation Advice, said: “We are already helping with the ‘levelling up agenda’ by supporting small businesses in less developed areas to grow and have adapted our support model to meet evolving business needs.

“These include continuing to boost productivity, helping firms work towards Net Zero, job creation, internationalisation and, increasingly, embracing digitalisation and Industry 4.0.”

She concluded: “There has been some massive strides forward in business support and we’ve seen first-hand how the right expertise can unlock the potential of some of our brightest SMEs in the East Midlands. It would be foolish to throw that all away with the launch of UKSPF funding!”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 pandemic having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £33.60 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.

Latest news

Related news

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.