Thirteen businesses from across Cumbria have seen their productivity and growth increase by getting support from a national company specialising in providing support and funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Made Smarter, the movement helping SMEs join the Industry 4.0 revolution, has funded more than 100 businesses as part of its North West technology adoption pilot to help manufacturers introduce digital tools and technologies to boost growth, as well as navigate the impact of Covid-19.

Almost 950 SME manufacturers have secured support, advice and a share of £2.5m of funding since the launch of Made Smarter 18 months ago.

This support includes expert, impartial technology advice, digital road-mapping workshops to help manufacturers transform their business, leadership development programmes in partnership with Lancaster University, and funded digital technology internships.

Cumbrian businesses that have received funding through the scheme are Bells of Lazonby; Bell Mount Farming, The Cumbria Clock Company and Cranstons Quality Butchers, in Penrith; Hudson Swan, Workington; Contactless Check Solutions and DM Engineering, Maryport; Eggbase, Sedburgh; James Tanner Joinery, Kendal; and Forge Europa and Astec Precision in Ulverston.

Darren Martin, managing director of DM Engineering, said: “As a relatively young business we want to build the company on the right footing by investing in the right digital technologies at the right time.

“Made Smarter has provided us with fantastic support and advice to enable us to stride towards our ambition of developing a smooth, client-led, high-quality service.”

Match funding has been secured for 115 projects with Made Smarter in the North-West, forecast to deliver an additional £100m in gross value added (GVA) for the regional economy over the next three years.

Some manufacturers are developing projects using technologies which enable them to integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and create simulations of their plants and processes. Others are using 3D-printing, automation, and robotics to solve challenges and increased demand.”