Manufacturing businesses are urged to try for £120m pot
MANUFACTURING businesses are being encouraged to apply for a share of a £120 million pot, which opens tomorrow.
The Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership wants to see firms in the area taking advantage of the latest funding, being made available through the Government's Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative.
The money can be used to support research and development, skills training and capital investment in the industry.
The idea is to help UK supply chains achieve world-class standards and encourage major new suppliers to operate here.
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And with a burgeoning offshore renewables offer, it is hoped firms looking towards the Humber as a base could benefit.
Those behind Able UK's Marine Energy Park, which, subject to Secretary of State for Transport approval, is primed to become a new era manufacturing hub, potentially providing capacity for 3,000 to 5,000 jobs with several operators, have welcomed the move.
And the LEP wants to see companies join forces with other businesses or educational establishments to put forward the necessary collaborative bids to help secure a prosperous economic future.
Neil Corner, the LEP's lead board member for the manufacturing sector, and an executive with Siemens, is well aware of the existing operations and the opportunities to be offered in the future.
He said: "The manufacturing industry is extremely important to our economy and is a key sector for the LEP to support to grow further.
"We have many great businesses across the region, including big names like Tata Steel in Scunthorpe, and also many SMEs that play a key part to the sector and its supply chain.
"The Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative is an excellent Government scheme aimed at companies or organisations with real ambition to create globally competitive supply chains in the UK.
"We encourage businesses in the region to apply as this is a great opportunity."
Up to £125 million was made available through the first two rounds of the initiative, announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable in December 2011.
More than 70 bids were received and successful bids from those rounds are projected to create or safeguard over 18,700 jobs.
David Shepherd, group development executive for Able UK, together with the rest of the team, is awaiting the final consent for the 819-hectare facility, which has already been granted enterprise zone status as the vision of creating the UK's Energy Estuary looks to be realised. That is due on or before May 24.
Mr Shepherd said: "From Able's perspective, anything that helps with the co-ordination of the supply chain, is required.
"Our development is based around that, so any funds coming out that help achieve it are to be welcomed. It has to be about the supply chain being matured, industrialised and moved forward."