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If you have any questions about our Made Smarter Adoption programme delivering in the North East, North West, West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire & Humber and the West of England or the national Made Smarter Innovation programme you’ve come to the right place. We’ve devoted this part of the website to frequently asked questions by makers, technology providers, students and others who have an interest in Made Smarter.

What is Made Smarter? What financial support is available? How exactly does the process work? If you’re curious about anything connected to our programme or the use of technology in business, you’ll find the answers to your most common questions below.

And if you have any queries that you can’t find here, head to the bottom of the page to submit your specific query.

Our "Frequently Asked" Questions
  • What is Made Smarter?

    Made Smarter is a national movement to empower the growth of UK makers and advance the UK economy. With the support of Made Smarter, Britain can achieve its aim of becoming a global leader in the creation, adoption and exportation of emerging technologies.

    The programme is backed by both world-renowned businesses and the UK government. It will help to improve the process for developing and adopting the tools, as well as make a real, everyday difference to people working within manufacturing – from the boardroom to the factory floor.

    Made Smarter was formed following an industry-led nationwide review into UK manufacturing. This put forward four key changes to tackle the sector’s challenges: stronger leadership, further technology innovation, faster implementation and adoption of tools, and the identification and encouragement of the future skills required.

    Our goal is to enhance the digital skills of industry leaders, bring businesses and research development together to develop new technologies, and support makers along their digital journey. The ultimate outcome is that we’ll inspire the next industrial revolution.

    To find out more about Made Smarter, head over to ‘What is Made Smarter?'

  • What financial support is available to me?

    What financial support is available to me?

    Made Smarter has a number of forms of financial support available:

    You’ll be able to understand both the benefits and the challenges, as well as receive support from our regional teams to shape your technology strategy and tech integration planning.

  • Where does the money come from?

    £8 million government funding has been allocated for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them modernise, go digital and create new jobs. As part of the government’s Made Smarter Adoption programme, the initiative will support small and medium-sized manufacturers, across the regions, in adopting digital technology.

    A further dimension to Made Smarter funding is Made Smarter Innovation, an integral part of the wider UK Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund specifically focused on developing the next generation of materials for advanced manufacturing through investment in industry and research.

  • What about De Minimus and State Aid regulation?

    Our support is publicly-funded and in the most part free-to-access therefore State Aid rules apply. Should you receive support, your Made Smarter adviser will explain the State Aid considerations. We operate under both the De Minimis scheme and the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER), depending on the service provided. For a comprehensive guide to State Aid, please see the following page:

  • Who delivers Made Smarter?

    The Made Smarter national movement is governed by a variety of stakeholder, groups and partners – these are listed on our Governance and Structure page

    Who delivers the Made Smarter Adoption Programme

    We also work closely with a range of delivery partners, strategic partners, professional networks and business support bodies. This ensures that we can reach as many local manufacturing businesses as possible, and support their growth through digital technologies.

  • What is Made Smarter Innovation

    The ISCF Made Smarter Innovation Programme was formed from the recommendations of the Made Smarter Review, 2017. It will work in conjunction with the Made Smarter Commission and the National Adoption Programme. The aim of this programme is to ensure the long term prosperity of UK manufacturing, raising total productivity by 30%, making the UK a global leader of the 4th Industrial Revolution and delivering clean growth.

    Expected economic and wider, social benefits or impacts from this programme include:

    • improvement in manufacturing productivity
    • additional contribution to UK gross added value
    • increased exports, inward investment and new high quality jobs
    • thriving and rapidly growing tech developer community
    • UK manufacturing innovation, competitiveness & growth
    • UK exploitation of research led emerging technologies
    • reduction in CO2 emissions
    • improved health and safety of manufacturing environments
    • improved safety and conformity of products
    • increased value to consumers including improved product quality, personalisation, job satisfaction, lower prices, increased convenience, wider choice.

    Learn more about Made Smarter Innovation

  • How much investment will my business receive?

    We take a holistic view of each bespoke application to identify each particular project’s need and the challenges that digital solutions integration can overcome. For this reason, we can be flexible and in eligible circumstances provide up to 50% match-funding for the implementation of hardware or software.

    Find out more about our grant funding

  • What types of projects can be funded?

    Projects that equip businesses with the tools to move towards ‘Industry 4.0’ are eligible. This means they need to be related to adopting and implementing new digital technologies. The project should unleash the power of Industry 4.0, providing benefits like:

    • Allowing you to visualise your production processes, meaning you can predict maintenance and respond to demand quicker.
    • Joining, automating and interconnecting your machinery and manufacturing software so you can harness real-time data.
    • Merging your existing physical production with new digital tech, machine learning and big data, providing a clearer picture of your operations that empowers better, more informed decision-making.
    • Assessing and protecting your data systems and infrastructure with cyber-security.

    You can take a look at some of the projects we’ve previously funded here.

  • How exactly does the process work?

    Once you’ve registered with us, one of our local advisers will be in touch to arrange a free, tailored business assessment to understand your operations.

    Following this, we’ll identify the tools to help boost your processes. At this stage, a tech specialist will scope your project and support you with your application. We’ll also review your current workforce and pinpoint any opportunities for skills and leadership development.

    You will then need to complete the application form along with the necessary financial checks. Once this is done, your assigned adviser will present the project to an independent panel. This consists of industry, academic and business support experts. They will make a decision on the day, so you’ll know if you’ve been successful, as well as the level of business growth funding granted (this is based on a points rating system for each proposal).

    Register now

  • How much paperwork and time is involved?

    Whilst there are some forms, we recognise makers are busy and so have removed as much of the paperwork from the process as possible. What remains is straightforward, and we’ll work through it with you – you’ll be assigned a dedicated adviser who will support you at every stage.

    Plus, we never set a maximum or minimum amount for the time we spend with each business. In this way, we can ensure we truly tailor the service we provide to every client. Previous business leaders who’ve received government funding through Made Smarter have remarked on how quick and easy the process was compared to other traditional business support grants.

    Register now

  • How long does it take to apply, and when will I receive the money?

    Each application and project is unique and distinct. Our advisers will work alongside you to scope it, complete the application form, and then submit it for review. Following this, you’ll receive a decision. If your project is approved, the money will be released to you within two working weeks.

    Register now

  • What can I expect from a digital transformation workshop?

    A digital transformation workshop is a one-day session where an expert adviser will explain, build and develop your digital transformation strategy and produce a roadmap. Getting this right is essential to the successful implementation and execution of the tools. Through this long-term plan for digital adoption, you’ll be able to understand the challenges and opportunities for emerging technologies in your enterprise.

    We strongly recommend taking part in a digital strategy workshop prior to accessing grant funding. They’re generally more effective when you invite a range of employees, decision makers or managers to attend, as this ensures buy-in to the strategy at every level.

  • What if I already have a technology project in mind?

    This isn’t an issue – our specialist technology advisers will discuss your proposed project with you, helping to figure out its feasibility by exploring your enterprise’s needs and challenges.

    Register now

  • How do I source the 'right' technology provider for my project?

    There is a wealth of different hardware and software solution providers for you to choose from. If you’ve worked with one previously and feel that they’re the right fit for your company and project, then you can continue to work with them on your Made Smarter project.

    But if you don’t already have a provider, then you can take a look at our technology providers directory. Whilst Made Smarter doesn’t specifically endorse them, you’ll be able to access an overview and case studies of their work. You can meet with them too, in order to effectively determine if they’re the right one for your project.

    Register now

  • Is there anyone who can advise me on the skills my business requires?

    Yes – we have dedicated Organisational Workforce Development Advisers who works closely with manufacturers to evaluate their needs based on their business, strategy, and the technology that's most appropriate for them to implement.

    Register now

  • What is the Made Smarter leadership programme, and how can I qualify?

    Our Leadership programme has been specifically designed for leaders of UK manufacturing SMEs who want to increase productivity and embrace new technologies. It takes into account operational change, along with employee expectations.

    We have subsidised the cost so if you’re a decision-maker, leader, or manager within a North West, West Midlands, or Yorkshire & Humber manufacturing business then you're eligible.

    Register now

  • I need advice about a project – can you help?

    Our team of advisers are currently working with manufacturers across the North East, North West, West Midlands, and Yorkshire & the Humber. The advisers will talk to you about your business and listen to any concerns, and offer advice, support and solutions.

    This support is not capped and our team will work with you regardless of your digital knowledge or experience. Our team will provide impartial advice around technology suppliers and support you in ensuring you have a digital strategy in place that will help to futureproof your business. We can also work with you if you need help with skills and organisational development, as well as ensuring you, and your management team, have the necessary leadership skills to help implement a move to digital – whether it is big or small.

    Register now

Still haven’t found your answer?