Made Smarter £21m boost

January 15, 2024

Manufacturing programme adds £21m value to region

The Made Smarter programme, which improves digital skills and access to technology, has added more than £21 million in value to the Marches region.

The programme, which is targeted at manufacturing and engineering businesses, is now set to be rolled out across the whole of England by 2025-26 and then to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland from 2026-27. The programme will run until 2030.

The programme was introduced into the West Midlands in 2021 as part of a one-year pilot. It was co-ordinated by Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub in partnership with other organisations across the region, including the Marches Growth Hub.

The gross value added (GVA) of Made Smarter West Midlands has now been calculated at £128.1m – including £21.1 million in the Marches area of Shropshire, Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin.

The programme helps small and medium-sized enterprises in the target sectors to access match-funded grants and digital expertise to drive growth.

Figures show that there were 13 grants made in the Marches area, out of 115 across the wider West Midlands, between April 2021 and October 2023.

Coventry and Warwickshire (CW) Growth Hub has led the Made Smarter West Midlands scheme in conjunction with growth hubs in the Marches, Worcestershire and Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire.

The programme is run on behalf of Business Growth West Midlands, the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Department for Business and Trade and uses expertise from strategic partners WMG, the University of Warwick, and the MTC.

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: | email:

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: | email:

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact:

For any finance queries please contact:

The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact:

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