Major scheme awarded £2.3 million of funding to continue helping businesses

May 23, 2023

The success of a major scheme to help West Midlands manufacturers boost productivity by adopting digital technology has seen it awarded £2.3m of funding to continue its work.

Since launching in 2021, Made Smarter West Midlands has advised more than 300 businesses across the region around which digital technology is most suitable for them, with more than 70 accessing grant money to help them pay for the improvements.

Now, Made Smarter will be able to continue this work thanks to an extra £2.3m of funding awarded to the scheme by the Department for Business & Trade – the third such pot of funding given to the scheme.

The programme has been led by Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub with fellow support organisations, Business Growth West Midlands and Worcestershire, The Marches, and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hubs on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the Department for Business and Trade.

The Growth Hubs work alongside strategic partners WMG, at the University of Warwick, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry to provide expert advice to businesses and improve their productivity.

Craig Humphrey, Managing Director of the CW Growth Hub said: “It’s fantastic that Made Smarter West Midlands has been given a third round of funding to help even more businesses in our region get the support they need to adopt game-changing digital technology.

“We are finding that a lot of SMEs realise they have hit bottlenecks or that investment is needed for them to grow, but do not have the time or resources to actively pursue a solution.

“Made Smarter’s work is key to helping these businesses take the next step forward – our help comes at no cost to the business. And we have already helped dozens across a wide range of sectors access the funding they need to grow.

“It is a real vote of confidence that the scheme has been renewed once again and we are looking forward to talking to even more businesses and finding the best technology for them.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “Small and medium sized businesses are the backbone of the West Midlands economy, employing tens of thousands of local people. It’s therefore absolutely essential they have the expert support they need to take advantage of fast changing digital technology so they can use it to adapt to new and smarter ways of working.

“Our Made Smarter programme allows businesses to do exactly that, and so I’m delighted further funding has been awarded to keep the scheme going.”

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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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