Manufacturing Growth Programme UK manufacturers looking for post-Brexit funding strategy

Source: Oxford Innovation Reading Time: 2 min

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One of the UK’s most successful industrial business support programmes comes to an end in June after helping the manufacturing sector to create or safeguard 12,435 jobs since 2016.

Jane Galsworthy is the Managing Director of Oxford Innovation Advice, a leading provider of business support programmes for SMEs.
Jane Galsworthy is the Managing Director of Oxford Innovation Advice, a leading provider of business support programmes for SMEs.
(Source: Oxford Innovation Advice)

The Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), which is designed and delivered by Oxford Innovation Advice, will see funding from the European Regional Development Fund end and is now urging the Government and local authorities to ensure that tailored advice for manufacturing SMEs is quickly put in place. A recent independent evaluation of the programme found that MGP has delivered excellent value for money and achieved real results. The report revealed that over 95 percent of companies surveyed expected their business to grow in the next five years because of receiving support from the programme, with 63 percent identifying the development of new products as one of the key areas. In addition, 63 percent said they had already seen an increase in turnover, while 52 percent cited improved productivity as the main outcome of the support received.

MGP was established in October 2016 to address some of the main barriers to growth experienced by SME manufacturers. Since then, it has been providing grant funding for business improvement/capital projects and specialist mentoring from industry experts, with 4,564 companies assisted across the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire & Humber and the South East. Its dedicated team of Manufacturing Growth Managers has delivered more than 13.9 million pounds of grants that, in turn, have unlocked over 25.7 million pounds of private sector investment. Importantly, it also generated 42,073 pounds Gross Value Added (GVA) per employee in the companies it supported.

Jane Galsworthy, Managing Director of Oxford Innovation Advice — a leading provider of business support programmes for SMEs — explained: “This independent evaluation further demonstrates that specialist business support programmes like the Manufacturing Growth Programme play a crucial role in supporting companies to overcome everyday challenges and barriers to growth. With the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) dividing up funding for business support at a very local level, there is a risk that businesses will only be able to access generic, low-quality support which delivers lower value for money and less measurable impact on businesses and the economy.”

She went on to add: “In the current economic climate, where businesses face multiple pressures from inflation, high energy prices, supply chain challenges and reduced consumer spending, the programme and its objectives are still as relevant now as they were back in 2016. It is now more important than ever that businesses have access to high-quality business support services and specialist expertise to help them achieve their growth potential. This, in turn, will enhance the economy, create job opportunities, and ensure the prosperity of our local communities.”

Verity Davidge, Director of Policy at Make UK, confirmed: “Manufacturing is central to the future of the UK economy as a provider of high skill, high value jobs, especially in emerging technologies, digitalisation, and the move to net zero. SMEs are the absolute backbone of the sector employing the vast majority of people and it’s vital that support programmes are maintained to ensure they can grow and prosper.”


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