£21m Made Smarter boost for Marches region

£21m Made Smarter boost for Marches region

Published: January 12th, 2024

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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