New funding project launched to support south west businesses

The South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS Ltd) has launched a new project to support small to medium sized (SME) manufacturing companies across the South West competitiveness region* looking to develop new products.

The Product Development Centre (PDC) will be part funded by the European Regional Development Fund Competitiveness Programme to the value of £1,525,000. It will provide SME manufacturing businesses with access to grants to support up to 40 per cent of external costs associated with product development, and the project support should lead to at least 166 new jobs being created.

A dedicated support programme focused on helping accelerate the development and introduction of new products from concept to commercial reality, the PDC will be in operation through to 31st March 2015. Qualifying businesses will be able to benefit from a bespoke package of support from the PDC as it will be tailored to suit each company’s specific needs.

Paul Gilbert, Innovation Advisor for the PDC, said: “This project is a new and exciting opportunity for businesses and has a dedicated focus on innovation – companies should think of it as a one-stop-shop for new product development. We can provide help with business strategy, Intellectual Property (IP), legislation, identifying and accessing markets, product and tooling design, prototyping and testing.”

As part of the PDC offering, businesses will benefit from a free ‘Innovation Review’ and ‘Action Plan’ to highlight the key areas for support and ensure they receive the most appropriate help at the right time. A dedicated team of expert advisors can provide up to two days of free support, while companies will also gain access to an exclusive ‘Knowledge Hub’, linking them with specialist expertise within universities, colleges and research centres.