12 Mar

Made Smarter drives £283k of investment in Leicester and Leicestershire manufacturers

Three people in hard hats looking at electronic tablet

East Midlands Made Smarter has so far led to more than £283,000 of investment in businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire.

With more than 100 expressions of interest lodged to date, 75 businesses in the city and county have then gone on to engage with the regional programme.

Of these, 21 are engaged with digital road mapping, which sees participants create a 3-5 year digitalisation plan for their business.

Made Smarter East Midlands is a £3 million digital adoption push designed to help small and medium-sized manufacturers boost their productivity.

It provides digital experts to advise and support regional firms on how to build leadership skills and switch to advanced and automated technologies. Implementation runs through to March 2025.

Meanwhile, seven grants have so far been awarded – worth a total of £130,786.

With match-funding added, it means that the regional Made Smarter programme has generated £283,784 of investment in Leicestershire since launch.

More grant-funded projects are already in the pipeline – with funding still available for allocation.

East Midlands Made Smarter launched in 2022 and was initially open only to manufacturers with between 10 and 249 employees.

The success of the programme in the East Midlands led to the announcement last autumn that it would be expanded to include micro-sized manufacturers with up to nine staff.

Subject to confirmation, it is also anticipated that the East Midlands programme will be extended out to 2029, with an expanded range of services and support for the region’s manufacturers.

East Midlands Made Smarter recently hosted an event as part of the LLEP Business Gateway Growth Hub-led Leicestershire Innovation Festival. 

It partnered with the InterAct Network to host Increasing Productivity through the Adoption of Digital Technology at Loughborough University.

Dr Chris Owen, Made Smarter East Midlands Programme Director said Made Smarter East Midlands is now supporting 75 Leicestershire businesses in adopting industrial digital technologies.

Dr Owen said:

“Many of the businesses are now making use of the free and impartial consultancy support to help them understand how to go about digitalising their business to achieve their ambitions, overcome current challenges, and reap significant business benefits.

“The programme is also offering fully funded impartial technical advisory support and has already awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds in grant funding to help Leicestershire’s SME manufacturers to adopt industrial digital technology.”

 Phoebe Dawson, Chief Executive, Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) said she was pleased with how the regional SME manufacturing sector had engaged with Made Smarter to date.

She said:

“We have some excellent manufacturers across our region who are successful, ambitious, innovative and they are making the most of the Made Smarter opportunity.

“Not only are we boosting the economic growth and productivity of the region’s SME Manufacturers, we are developing our local workforce by helping them to find exciting ways of working with digital technology and improve their daily working lives.”

The East Midlands Made Smarter Programme is led by Greater Lincolnshire LEP (GLLEP) in collaboration with Leicester & Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnerships, D2N2, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Learn more about Made Smarter