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Made Smarter is a government backed initiative designed to improve productivity of North West manufacturers through the adoption of industrial design technologies (IDT).

Automation, robotics, sensor technology, IOT, 3D Printing, AI and VR are all proven catalysts of better business outcomes. From bespoke design to quality control, profit to volume levels, margins to machine monitoring there are multiple opportunities to improve efficiency across manufacturing organisations.

Increasing the use of IDT will raise productivity and international competitiveness of UK businesses, create new, higher skilled & higher paying jobs within society, and increase the resource efficiency of the UK’s industrial base. This is estimated to result in a £455 billion boost to the UK’s economy, the creation of 175,000 jobs and a reduction of 4.5% in emissions. So far, the UK has not been capitalising on the opportunities of new technology – meaning we are falling behind other countries like the USA, Germany and China.

Knowing what, when, where and how to apply IDT can be challenging. The Made Smarter program will simplify that process and help SME’s understand exactly how Industrial Digital Technology can be applied in their business to make it smarter.

What’s in it for me?

The Made Smarter offer comprises:

  • Fully funded assessments enabling SME’s to see the benefits IDT can offer their business.
  • Match funded grants for SME’s to invest in technology, skills, software or student placements.
  • Leadership training & student placements to ready your workforce for a digital future.

Who is it for?

If you’re a small or medium sized manufacturing or engineering enterprise in the North West with the potential to adopt industrial digital technologies, and the ambition for growth, then you are an eligible company for Made Smarter support.

How does it work?

IDT advisers will work with your company to develop fundable projects. Projects can include consultation aimed at adopting IDT, investment into IDT equipment or software, training for staff to use existing or new IDT, or leadership training to enable effective adoption of IDT. Examples include investing in augmented reality software and hardware to make parts assembly more efficient – this could include the consultation and design of these systems. Another example would be investing in 3D printers to improve product prototyping and reduce waste. For this programme, grant funding is provided at 50% of the total project costs.

There are some forms and paperwork, but these are simple and you will receive support throughout the process.

How do I find out more and apply?

Sign up for more information at and an adviser will be in touch to arrange your assessment.

Contact our Business Support Helpdesk and start your growth conversation

If you’re starting, growing or scaling a business and want to find out how our funded services can help you, please contact our experienced team today. We’d love to support your growth ambitions.

  • Funded By UK Gov
  • Levelling Up Logo
  • Dept For Trade And Business logo
  • Northern Powerhouse
  • LCC