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Made Smarter has launched a £1.9 million digital adoption push to drive growth in West Midlands manufacturing and engineering SMEs and help them boost productivity.

Digital experts will provide advice to manufacturing businesses on how to switch to advanced and automated technologies as well as working to improve employees’ overall digital skills.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub is leading the one-year Made Smarter scheme with its fellow Growth Hubs in Greater Birmingham and Solihull, the Black Country, Worcestershire Business Central, The Marches, and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Made Smarter adoption in the West Midlands
  • Who is delivering the Made Smarter adoption programme in the West Midlands?

    The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub is leading the one-year Made Smarter scheme with its fellow Growth Hubs in Greater Birmingham and Solihull, the Black Country, Worcestershire Business Central, The Marches, and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

    The West Midlands Growth Hubs are working closely with the West Midlands Combined Authority and their strategic partners WMG, at the University of Warwick and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry to tap into the expertise of their digital manufacturing specialists.

  • Localised advice and support
    • The Growth Hubs will assess each business that applies to ensure they are given the specialist support they need.
    • We will then help local SMEs to develop an action plan for adopting digital technology in their own detailed roadmap, which could involve participating in a leadership training programme, being offered a student placement, or receiving a match funded grant.
  • Localised digital transformation workshops
    • We aim to connect ‘makers’ to the digital tools they can utilise to transform the way they work. The programme will grow eligible businesses through emerging digital technology and help them to cut costs, go to market faster and reduce downtime.
    • A detailed diagnostic and assessment process will help firms to develop a strategic action plan towards IDT adoption. This includes investment recommendations within the business case.
  • Localised leadership development

    Within the West Midlands we are currently offering the Peer Networks Programme.

    This is a national initiative that’s delivered locally through the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) network and their respective Growth Hubs. 

    The programme’s longer-term aims are focused on reducing the UK productivity gap by helping business leaders find practical solutions to strategic and operational challenges. The programme will see the creation of a series of peer networks (cohorts) through the Growth Hub network, with each group consisting of 11 owners or managers from the SME business community participating in each network. 

    Led by an experienced facilitator, these peer networks will typically meet fortnightly as part of delivering 18 hours of action learning through 2-3-hour sessions. Individual one-to-one support (coaching, mentoring, or advice) will also be provided either directly by the programme, or from other existing schemes to help to implement and manage change. Active involvement in the peer network will enhance the leadership capabilities, knowledge and confidence of business owners and entrepreneurs within a local region. 

    It will help build regional connectivity and strength within the SME business community. The Peer Networks Programme is funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in response to a commitment made in the 2019 Business Productivity Review. We will also be exploring the potential to develop a tailored leadership programme for Made Smarter in 2022.

  • Localised funding support
    • Up to 50% match funding (Maximum of £20,000) is available for equipment and/or specialist advice to implement projects
    • Guidance on creating an effective digital roadmap to ensure the technology is taking your business in the right direction.
  • Localised internship support
    • Fully-funded internships are available to support your manufacturing business implement new technology hardware or software.
    • Interns will be paid £5,750 across 460-hours (12 weeks) and are given the chance to use the skills and knowledge gained at university. Plus, the placements are tailored to align with their own career interests and needs.