Rod Wah of Beverston Engineering which has experienced the benefits of Made Smarter support
The Government has announced £8 million of funding for small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to help them modernise, go digital and create new jobs. The funding, part of the Government’s Made Smarter Adoption programme, will support up to 1,000 SME manufacturers, in the North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands regions, in adopting digital technology.
A pilot of the programme launched in January 2019 in the North West and has already worked with more than 1,000 firms and directly supported over 500 companies to use digital technology to overcome challenges or access opportunities to grow their business.
The additional funding announced yesterday will allow businesses in the North West to continue to access support and, starting in the coming months, for more manufacturers across other parts of England do the same.
Minister for Investment, Lord Grimstone, said: “The proof is in the pudding, and for the companies that have adopted the latest digital technology, they are already reaping the rewards. To help level up the country, we want to ensure businesses have the right tools for the job so that they can build back better and greener from the pandemic.”
By supporting the adoption of industrial digital technology, such as robotics and automation, additive manufacturing or the Internet of Things, the programme is designed to help level-up regions by enabling manufacturers to increase their productivity, create high-skilled well-paid jobs and reduce their emissions.
Olly Benzecry, chairman of Accenture UK & Ireland and a Made Smarter commissioner, said: “Having been actively involved in the North West pilot we have seen the power of this scheme to help a broad range of manufacturers exploit industrial digitalisation to increase productivity and employment. It is great to see this approach now being made available more nationally, building on the strong foundation developed and proven in the North West over the past two years.New digitalised industrial landscape
Margaret Wood, Made Smarter commissioner and chairman of ICW in Wakefield, said: “The roll out of Made Smarter Adoption support is a much-needed booster in these changing times. I am happy to see that the Government is making this investment to enable a new era in manufacturing and to develop the possibilities for a new, digitalised industrial landscape.”
“By rolling out support across the North of England and the West Midlands, this will help increase regional productivity and innovation, helping to unleash countless possibilities.”
Helen Golightly, chief executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Despite the rapid pace of digital adoption during the coronavirus pandemic, many SMEs still need support to introduce new technologies within their businesses that can improve productivity, efficiency and performance.”
The Made Smarter Adoption programme will help businesses in the North East adapt to a new, smarter way of working by embracing digital.
Jamie Elliott, innovation lead for the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “This funding is a step in the right direction. We have 14,500 SME manufacturers in the West Midlands many of which would benefit from access to new technologies, which would both boost the region’s economy, help create skilled jobs and contribute towards a cleaner, greener West Midlands.”
The Made Smarter Adoption programme includes free impartial, expert advice, funded digital internships, access to specialised leadership and management training, as well as match funding for digital transformation projects.