A £19 million programme to support and strengthen companies in the automotive and aerospace supply chains in the West Midlands has been launched.
The West Midlands and Liverpool City Region Programme will help companies in the four Local Enterprise Partnership areas of Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire, the Black Country and Liverpool City Region.
It forms part of the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI), a £125 million national programme launched in April 2012 to improve the global competitiveness of the advanced manufacturing supply chain.
The programme will provide loans and grants to pay for capital equipment, working capital, R&D activity which improves manufacturing equipment, systems and processes, and specific training and skills development.
The programme is managed by Finance Birmingham and provides minimum funding of £100,000.
Paul Heaven, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Board Director with responsibility for access to finance, praised the impact of the programme.
He said, "We are proud of what has been achieved through AMSCI and are looking to build on these successes with this further support.
"Originally, when the AMSCI programme was conceived, it was the four LEPs of Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire and Liverpool City Region who took the lead on developing the project, primarily to capitalise on the opportunities that the investment in Jaguar Land Rover presented in these areas.
"The financial support this programme offers is crucial and will encourage business innovation and ensure local manufacturing receives the support it needs to grow.
"Furthermore, the quantity of jobs resulting from this growth and their related skill set within the supply chain will make a significant impact for businesses throughout the four Local Enterprise Partnerships.
"It is important that we take advantage of the opportunity to establish more competitive supply chains that anchor high-value work in England and, crucially, create jobs.”
Richard Hutchins, a director of Coventry and Warwickshire LEP and chair of its High Value Manufacturing Business Group, added, "A healthy supply chain is vital to help our manufacturers compete internationally, meet demand and continue to create growth and prosperity for the region and the UK.
"We see this funding as a very good opportunity to help firms in the supply chain to increase their capabilities.
"We would encourage businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire – as well as the other areas – to look very closely at the opportunity and put themselves forward for relevant funding.”
Stewart Towe, Chairman of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, said, "High value manufacturing including the automotive and aerospace supply chain is a priority growth sector for the Black Country moving forward and is crucial to the delivery of our aspirations.
"We are always supportive of initiatives and funding opportunities that encourage and support private sector-led economic growth in the Black Country.”
For further information about the AMSCI programme visit www.financebirmingham.com