Oxford Innovation Advice are delighted to announce that they have successfully contracted with Huntingdonshire District Council to design, mobilise and deliver a unique business support programme for manufacturing SMEs with funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
The programme, known as Huntingdonshire Digital Manufacturing Growth Programme, will deliver a high-quality, outcome-driven business support service that enables Huntingdonshire SMEs to learn tools, techniques and practices.
As a result, those businesses will better understand their competitive position; have clear and actionable insights they can use to advance their sustainability, productivity, and efficiencies by means of digital technologies.
Manufacturing is Huntingdonshire’s heritage and foundation sector. The region has a large manufacturing base of long-established businesses who have been innovating for decades. This cluster boasts an enviable mix of strong traditional craft and skilled engineering labour that has attracted a new wave of R&D intensive businesses utilising advanced manufacturing methods to create an array of products for the automotive, aerospace, medical, defence and technology sectors.
Jane Galsworthy, Managing Director of Oxford Innovation Advice said: “We are delighted to have won this contract so we can provide expert advice to manufacturing businesses and deliver economic prosperity in Huntingdonshire.
“It is now more important than ever that SME manufacturers have access to specialist support to develop digital capabilities that build resilience and underpin growth. This in turn will enhance the economy, job opportunities and the prosperity of local communities.”
Guided by a local Digital Manufacturing Advisor, manufacturing business will undertake Oxford Innovation Advice’s diagnostic tool, GROWTHmapper, to assess their needs and develop a tailored digital roadmap setting out for short, medium and long term improvement goals.
These roadmaps will provide manufacturers with a clear plan that will result in obtainable outcomes such as improved productivity, competitiveness, sustainability or adopt new products or services through the use of digital adoption.
In addition to providing hands on business support, the programme will offer capital grant funding to a limited number of SMEs to implement the next steps that had been identified within their roadmap.
The programme will support 40 manufacturing businesses between September 2023 to March 2025 with one-on-one advice from their local Digital Manufacturing Advisor, Adrian Waters. Adrian is a business professional and manufacturing specialist with over thirty-five years of commercial experience in a wide variety of operational, manufacturing and leadership roles.
Executive Councillor for Jobs, Economy and Housing, Cllr Sam Wakeford said, “It is great to witness this first project launch with backing from the UKSPF. This funding will directly enable local SMEs, supporting their capacity for growth and making Huntingdonshire an even more attractive district for future investment.
“The Shared Prosperity Fund investment priorities of communities, place, people, and skills and supporting local businesses, align directly with our own. We’re committed to focussing on our priorities through projects such as these that can have positive outcomes for both residents and businesses in our district.”
The Huntingdonshire Digital Manufacturing Growth Programme will also provide SMEs the opportunity to join engagement workshops across the course of the programme. Facilitated workshops will be designed on informing manufacturing businesses on digital awareness, the benefits of industrial digital technology adoption in the UK and how SMEs can use digital adoption benchmarking for business growth.
Peer Networks will be offered to participating SMEs that will allow them to share experiences of their own journeys through the programme and confirm next steps. The Digital Manufacturing Adviser will introduce SMEs who have similar digital ambitions so they can share their experiences and support each other through the digital transition.
To find out more visit www.HD-MGP.co.uk