New funding package gives manufacturers a helping hand

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MANUFACTURING firms in Northumberland have the opportunity to receive a funding boost through a new regional package.

The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) has secured £539,000 of additional support from the North East European Regional Development Fund Programme and will be using the additional money to assist a further 122 manufacturers.

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 MAS, said: “This funding is excellent news and reinforces our ability to give specialist advice and guidance that unlocks the potential of manufacturers in the North East.

“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.”

“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.”

Under the additional funding package, the firms that get support will receive an in-depth business review from a specialist manufacturing advisor, who will help them to develop an action plan which can be used to determine the level of financial support they are eligible to obtain. 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.

The MAS 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, 1.1million jobs and a major share of £140billion 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 those with major influence in the industry to ensure the right support is in place to encourage growth and future job creation.

It will culminate with a special week of activities, starting on Monday, November 25.

For details, call 0845 6589600, visit www.mymas.org or follow @mas_works on Twitter.