To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Made Smarter scheme has been rolled-out across the country.
23 December 2020
Since January 2019, BEIS has piloted support to help manufacturing SMEs adopt industrial digital technology to increase their productivity, efficiency and resilience through the Made Smarter North West Pilot, which to date has engaged with more than 1,100 SME manufacturers and more than 150 are receiving intensive support with grant funding. This support is currently only available in the North West of England. Roll out to other parts of England remains under discussion informed by learning from the pilot exercise.
We welcome the strong interest we have seen from local partners in delivering Made Smarter support for adoption of technology in their regions. BEIS has held productive conversations with local partners on their expressions of interest, including in the North East, and I look forward to the continuation of these discussions.
Alongside this support, we are also investing £147m through the Manufacturing Made Smarter Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. This is accessible to manufacturers of all sizes right across the UK and aims to drive innovation in industrial digital technology solutions. A £20m Challenge Fund competition to support increased digitalisation of supply chains was concluded in October, and Innovation Hubs to help manufacturers explore and test digital technology are being piloted across the country, including through the Centre for Process Innovation at both Darlington and Sedgefield.