Growth programme gives seven-figure support to West Midlands firms as over 1,000 new jobs have been created at small to medium-sized manufacturers across the West Midlands thanks to dedicated support designed to boost performance and help them increase sales.
The Manufacturing Growth Programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by Economic Growth Solutions, has just delivered its latest grant to boost the fortunes of Smethwick-based uniform workwear specialist Wizard Pro Gear, taking its total contribution to SMEs to more than £1.85 million.
This assistance has been directed towards improving marketing activities, penetrating new sectors, developing business strategy and R&D work.
Companies – ranging from food and drink and automotive specialists to aerospace and textile manufacturers – have also benefitted from assistance in introducing new quality procedures.
“We are continually proving that the right support, delivered at the right time and by the right people, can make a significant difference to manufacturers,” explained Martin Coats, Managing Director at EGS.
“Over £1.85 million has been awarded in the form of grants so far and this has been used by firms across the West Midlands to improve the way they manufacture, launch new products or access additional/new markets. This has already equated to 1061 new jobs, with 361 more expected to be created once projects are completed.”
He continued: “The difference with MGP is that it is 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 Manufacturing Growth Programme was set up to fill the void left by the Manufacturing Advice Service by providing access to specialist assistance to help manufacturers grow and improve.
This is being achieved through a 19-strong network of experienced manufacturing growth managers, access to industry specialists and the opportunity to apply for an average improvement grant from £1,000. Support can be used for leadership and management, R&D, lean manufacturing, productivity and capacity, quality systems and supply chain development.
In addition to Wizard Pro Gear, MGP has also assisted Dudley-based fire protection specialist Bryland embark on a transformation project to boost turnover and support Smethwick’s A&M EDM towards ISO 14001 accreditation.
This led to a new recycling strategy, re-using scrap wire in production and the installation of LED lighted to reduce energy costs and improve the working environment.
“We’ve come a long way since I started the business a few doors down, with just two people and a few machines,” explained Mark Wingfield, Managing Director. “Over the past 15 years we have grown into the UK’s largest commercial EDM wire and spark erosion specialist, an achievement that we have built on by adding CNC machining and toolmaking design and manufacturing services.”
He continued: “We invited MGP to come in and look at our business and how we could increase turnover and our manufacturing efficiency. The discussions were great and resulted in the creation of an action plan that focused on our approach to customer relationships, strategy and digital marketing. It also highlighted the need to secure the ISO:14001 environmental accreditation so that we could tender for larger contracts.”