01 July 2020

SMEs across Yorkshire have been urged to take advantage of £6.5m funding to help them recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and address key barriers to growth.

The Manufacturing Growth Programme, which is funded by ERDF and overseen by Oxford Innovation Services, has been extended until December 2022 and will provide a further 2,800 companies with access to industry experts and grants to tackle immediate business issues and support improvement plans.

This additional backing is set to create and safeguard about 3,500 jobs and takes the total package of support from initiative to £18.3m across 17 regions, with businesses in the Sheffield City Region able to apply for the first time.

Companies are given access to a dedicated local manufacturing growth manager, who will use business diagnostic tool GROWTHmapper to develop an individual action plan and support business projects, ranging from environmental improvements, leadership and management and marketing to people and skills, quality and supply chain development.

Martin Coats, managing director of the Manufacturing Growth Programme, said: "All the media attention is on the headline manufacturers and how they are coping in the wake of Covid-19; it's our job to look at how the smaller manufacturers supporting these big businesses are performing and what we can do to help them.

"Our track record in delivering on-the-ground expert support was pivotal in us securing an additional £6.5m of funding that is ring-fenced for ensuring SME manufacturers can overcome barriers to growth and return to doing what they do best: making things."

The Manufacturing Growth Programme has provided £1.2m of grants to Yorkshire businesses since its launch in October 2016. This has been used to assist more than 850 companies, creating nearly 800 jobs and safeguarding hundreds more.