SME’s to modernise, go digital and create more jobs with £8m in new Government Funding

SME’s to modernise, go digital and create more jobs with £8m in new Government Funding

The government announced £8m in funding to help SME’s modernise, go digital, and ultimately create new jobs on the 18th February 2021. This new funding is to be used directly to adopt cutting-edge digital technologies to improve manufacturing processes. The new funding is hoped to build back better by increasing businesses’ productivity and reducing emissions.

The funding stems from the Government’s Made Smarter Adoption programme. It will support up to 1,000 small and medium-sized manufacturers across the North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands regions.

The Made Smarter Adoption Programme

Made Smarter was created following an industry-led review of how UK manufacturing industries can prosper through digital tools and innovation. The review was commissioned by the UK Government and led by Professor Juergen Maier CBE – Co-Chair of Made Smarter UK.

This review made four key recommendations:

  1. To develop more ambitious, informed, and focused leadership programmes for digitalisation.
  2. To create more widespread adoption of technology across supply chains, especially amongst SME makers.
  3. To ensure faster innovation and creation of new tech, new companies and value-streams, supported by the Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge Fund and Technology Accelerator.
  4. To upskill workforces and identify future skills.

The Made Smarter Adoption Programme was then created to respond to these recommendations and do so by:

  1. Accelerating the diffusion and adoption of digital technologies across the UK manufacturing sector. This approach is currently piloted across North West England through support programmes, with intentions to scale up across other regions.
  2. Creating increased visibility and effectiveness on digital ecosystems to accelerate the innovation of Industrial Digital Technologies (IDTs). This has been implemented through connecting manufacturing, technology, and research organisation to develop innovative technology solutions for the manufacturing industry’s biggest challenges.
  3. The programme has been looking to upskill millions of industrial workers to ensure they are getting the best from the digital technologies that are being implemented. This also provides further opportunities for manufacturers who are looking to increase their understanding and skill set to ensure long-lasting results in their operations.
  4. Inspiring the UK’s next Industrial Revolution with more decisive leadership and promoting its ambitions to be a global pioneer in Industrial Digital Technologies.

On top of this, the government’s Made Smarter Adoption programme also offers free impartial, expert advice, funded digital internships, access to specialised leadership and management training, as well as match funding for digital transformation projects. Allowing businesses to improve operations effectively.

Since the initial review was released in 2017, and the Adoption Programme was subsequently formed as a response in 2019, many businesses have already used the methodology to improve their business operations’ efficiency and effectiveness.  A Bury-based Black Pudding Company that is already utilising the Made Smarter Programme’s support has now created the world’s first smart Black Pudding factory by using automation and digital tools to increase product quality and substantially reduce waste.

Meanwhile, Altrincham-based Mackinnon and Saunders, the stop-motion animators who worked on Postman Pat and collaborated with Hollywood director Tim Burton, have received support to adopt digital technologies such as 3D printing to keep up with bigger, global rivals.

The pilot programme has also worked with an additional 1,000 firms in the North West and directly supported more than 500 businesses to use digital technology to overcome any challenges they may face and have more comprehensive access to new opportunities.

Minister for investment Lord Grimstone said: “The proof is in the pudding, and for the companies that have adopted the latest digital technology, they are already reaping the rewards. To help level up the country, we want to ensure businesses have the right tools for the job so that they can build back better and greener from the pandemic.”

The government’s new funding will allow the Made Smarter Programme to develop further and enable them to expand the programme across an increased number of manufacturing SME’s in and across the North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands regions.

How can Animo help?

If you have any queries about how the above mentioned may affect your business or about registering for the Made Smarter Adoption Programme, get in touch with us today, and one of our expert consultants will be happy to assist you! Contact us by calling +44 (0)07 060 0835, emailing us at, or by filling in the contact form below.

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