£2.2 million support boost for West Midlands manufacturers

Aid for regional businesses welcomed.

Manufacturers in the West Midlands are set to receive a major boost this week, with news that over £2.2 million has been secured to help them expand and create jobs.

The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) has secured the funding from the West Midlands European Regional Development Fund Programme and will be using the additional money to assist a further 390 manufacturers across the region.

For the first time, MAS will be able to provide ‘transformational’ support worth up to £10,000 to help companies looking to significantly grow by entering new markets, developing products or implementing strategic change projects.

Lorraine Holmes, Area Director for the Manufacturing Advisory Service, explained: “This funding is excellent news and reinforces our ability to give specialist advice and guidance that unlocks the potential of manufacturers in the West Midlands.

“We are increasingly seeing new opportunities coming online through re-shoring and major inward investment into the UK and we need to ensure our SMEs are in a position to take advantage of them.”

She continued: “This is where MAS comes into the equation and the fact we can offer even bigger ‘transformational’ support will allow us to make even more of a difference to SMEs in the supply chain.”

The Manufacturing Advisory Service is delivered in the region by the West Midlands Manufacturing Consortium and funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Under the additional ERDF funding, manufacturers will receive an in-depth business review from a specialist Manufacturing Advisor, who will help them develop an action plan that can be used to determine the level of financial support they are eligible for.

The emphasis will be on major strategic change projects that will result in significant process improvement, supply chain development, diversification and, ultimately, result in job creation.

Norman Price, Deputy Chair of the West Midlands ERDF Local Management Committee, said: “MAS provides valuable support to small businesses in the West Midlands. Through this new Growth Programme more SMEs will benefit from access to enhanced services, ranging from business reviews to strategic and technical advice to improve productivity and competitiveness. It’s important that we maintain these important services and I am delighted that we have been able to provide £2.2 million of ERDF support to ensure this is on offer.”

The Manufacturing Advisory Service has also recently launched ‘Manufacturing Matters’, a two month campaign designed to showcase England’s manufacturing SMEs – a sector that currently accounts for more than 110,000 businesses, 1.1 million jobs and a major share of £140bn of annual GDP.

The initiative, which has its own dedicated website at manufacturingmatters.mymas.org, will look to discuss key challenges and opportunities, whilst opening up dialogue with the media, politicians and major industry influencers to ensure the right support is in place to encourage growth and future job creation.

It will then culminate with a special week of activities on November 25th that will include the launch of the next MAS Barometer, a series of debates and events covering topics such as innovation, skills, international trade and access to finance.

To take advantage of the new support, please contact 0845 658 9600, visit www.mymas.org or follow @mas_works on twitter.