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Huntingdonshire District Council has successfully awarded £280,000 of funding to the manufacturing sector via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

A contract has been awarded to Oxford Innovation Advice to design, mobilise and deliver a unique business support and capital funding package for manufacturers in Huntingdonshire. Oxford Innovation will work alongside local businesses to help them gain a deeper understanding of their competitive standing, acquiring transparent and practical insights to propel their sustainability, productivity, and efficiency through the integration of digital technologies.

The Huntingdonshire manufacturing cluster boasts an enviable mix of strong traditional craft and skilled engineering labour that has attracted a new wave of research and development intensive businesses utilising advanced manufacturing methods to create an array of products for the automotive, aerospace, medical, defence and technology sectors.

Executive Councillor for Jobs, Economy and Housing, Cllr Sam Wakeford said: "It is great to witness this first project launch with backing from the UKSPF. This funding will directly enable local SMEs, supporting their capacity for growth and making Huntingdonshire an even more attractive district for future investment.

"The UK Shared Prosperity Fund investment priorities of communities, place, people, and skills and supporting local businesses, align directly with our own. We’re committed to focussing on our priorities through projects such as these that can have positive outcomes for both residents and businesses in our district."

Economic Development Manager, Nykki Rogers said: "Manufacturing is Huntingdonshire’s heritage and foundation sector, we have the largest manufacturing cluster in Cambridgeshire with local job growth of 7% above the national average. There is a community here of long-established businesses who have been innovating for decades alongside pioneering start and scale ups. It is an exciting time for manufacturing in Huntingdonshire, a place which is fast becoming the East of England’s growth space supporting local research companies to achieve the scale of development and prototyping they need, all within 30 minutes of Cambridge."

The programme will support manufacturing SMEs between September 2023 to March 2025 with one-on-one advice from their local Digital Manufacturing Advisor, Adrian Waters. Adrian is a business professional and manufacturing specialist with over 35 years of commercial experience in a wide variety of operational, manufacturing and leadership roles.

Jane Galsworthy, Managing Director of Oxford Innovation Advice said: "We are delighted to have won this contract so we can provide expert advice to manufacturing businesses and deliver economic prosperity in Huntingdonshire.

"It is now more important than ever that SME manufacturers have access to specialist support to develop digital capabilities that build resilience and underpin growth. This in turn will enhance the economy, job opportunities and the prosperity of local communities."

The Huntingdonshire Digital Manufacturing Growth Programme will also provide SMEs the opportunity to join engagement workshops across the course of the programme. Facilitated workshops will be designed on informing manufacturing businesses on digital awareness, the benefits of industrial digital technology adoption in the UK and how SMEs can use digital adoption benchmarking for business growth.

Peer Networks will be offered to participating SMEs that will allow them to share experiences of their own journeys through the programme and confirm next steps. The Digital Manufacturing Adviser will introduce SMEs who have similar digital ambitions so they can share their experiences and support each other through the digital transition.

Find out more about the Huntingdonshire Digital Manufacturing Growth Programme.

To find out more about Invest in Huntingdonshire, visit their website.