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Manufacturing Advisory Services aims to help 120 firms expand and create jobs
NORTH-EAST manufacturing firms have the opportunity to benefit from a £500,000 cash windfall to boost expansion plans and create new jobs.
The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) has secured £539,000 from the North-East European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme, which it will use to help more than 120 companies across the region.
Bosses say the funding includes transformational support, worth up to £10,000, which will help companies aiming to develop new products and enter new markets.
The MAS programme has already supported a number of North-East companies, including Hydram Sheet Metalwork, in Chilton, County Durham, which supplies vehicle makers Alexander Dennis, Caterpillar and JCB, and has increased turnover by 60 per cent in the last 18 months, creating 60 jobs.
It also provided backing for recyclable packaging firm Re Pet, in Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, which earlier this year revealed £2.4m investment plans to buy new machinery and increase work from firms in Africa, Australia and South America.
The company, founded only three years ago, employs about 20 workers, and was helped by MAS to meet British Retail Consortium standards.
Lorraine Holmes, MAS area director, said: “This funding is excellent news and reinforces our ability to give specialist advice and guidance that unlocks the potential of manufacturers in the North-East.
“We are increasingly seeing new opportunities through major inward investment into the UK and we need to ensure our small and medium-sized businesses are in a position to take advantage of them.
“This is where MAS comes into the equation, and the fact we can offer even larger transformational support will allow us to make even more of a difference to companies in the supply chain.”
The MAS is delivered by the West Midlands Manufacturing Consortium and funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Under the additional ERDF funding, manufacturers will receive support from advisers based in the North-East to develop plans that will increase supply chain work and lead to new jobs.
Councillor Neil Foster, deputy chair of the North-East ERDF local management committee, hailed MAS' work.
He said: “MAS provides valuable support to small manufacturers in the North-East.
“Through this new growth programme, more small and medium-sized firms will benefit from access to enhanced services from business reviews to technical advice to improve productivity.
“It’s important that we maintain these important services and I am delighted that we have been able to provide ERDF support to ensure this is on offer.”
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