Manufacturing Growth Programme celebrates 1000 SME beneficiaries

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The Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), a new £9.7m business support initiative, is celebrating supporting over 1000 SME manufacturers in the past ten months.

The MGP, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by Economic Growth Solutions, has helped companies across the UK to grow, develop new products and overcome production issues that were holding them back.

Companies can apply for support in a range of areas, including leadership and management, R&D, lean manufacturing, supply chain development and productivity. The MGP, which was set up to fill the void left by the demise of the Manufacturing Advice Service, can call on a group of 18 experienced manufacturing growth managers and a wider network of industry specialists.

Companies can apply for a grant of anything up to £3,500. The average amount given to date is £1,400. Over £1.5m of grant contributions had been made to companies by the end of July, and the scheme has already created 400 new jobs, with over 350 additional positions expected to be created once ongoing projects are completed.

“We are way above the targets we have set for ourselves, proving that there is a real appetite from SMEs for targeted business support that can help them grow,” said Lorraine Holmes, CEO of Economic Growth Solutions.

“The difference with our programme is that it is being delivered by manufacturing experts who understand the challenges companies are facing. They 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.”

The scheme isn’t showing any signs of slowing down: funds are in place to support a further 2200 firms by March 2019.

“1000 beneficiaries is just the start,” continued Holmes. “We’ve still got lots of grants to deliver and we want manufacturers to come forward and see how they can take advantage of the assistance on offer.”

Dudley-based Bryland Fire Protection has used the MGP to boost sales by £2.7m to post a record £9.2m. The company’s managing director, Graham Turner, said: “The process was nothing short of incredible. It allowed us to take a step back from day-to-day activities and look at why we are successful and where our core expertise lies. One of the outcomes was to have a concerted push on supplying solutions to data centres and that is already paying off with many new contract wins.”