MAS secures £539,000 of funding for region's manufacturers

More than 100 businesses in the North East are to benefit from a £539,000 boost to help them expand and create jobs

Lorraine Holmes, area director for the Manufacturing Advisory Service
Lorraine Holmes, area director for the Manufacturing Advisory Service

More than 100 businesses in the North East are to benefit from a £539,000 boost to help them expand and create jobs.

The funding from the North East European Regional Development Fund Programme has been secured by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) who aim to assist a further 122 manufacturers across the region, providing 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, 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 European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding, manufacturers will receive an in-depth business review from a specialist Manufacturing Advisor, who will help them to 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.

Councillor Neil Foster, deputy chair of the North East ERDF Local Management Committee, said: “MAS provides valuable support to small manufacturers in the North East. 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 £539,000 of ERDF support to ensure this is on offer.”

The Manufacturing Advisory Service, delivered in the region by WMMC and funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), has 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 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 25 that will include the launch of the next MAS Barometer, a series of debates and events covering various topics.

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