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LCR Supply Chain Programme – Meet the 3M BIC businesses

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After three years of supporting manufacturing SMEs across the region through successful journeys of growth and development, the Leeds City Region Supply Chain programme will come to an end in March 2023 with a last call for applications until December this year.


Delivered by the University of Huddersfield the business support programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is urging businesses to take action if they are seeking business support or grant funding before the December deadline. The programme has a remaining capacity to support approximately 40 new SMEs and a grant pot of £130,000.


The programme’s marketing and engagement officer, Mel Comins, tells us a bit more about the programme and how it can support businesses across the region.


Tell us about the Supply Chain and the team based here at the 3M BIC

Est. in Sept 2018, the Leeds City Region, Supply Chain Programme, is a business support programme delivered by The University of Huddersfield and funded by the European Region Development Fund (ERDF). The programme provides free support and grand funding to manufacturing SMEs and associated services, within the Leeds City region and helps businesses through their journeys of development and growth. The support is delivered by a friendly team of manufacturing and commercial experts, all who have significant experience across a wide variety of sectors. In addition to the advisors, who spend most of their time out in the field, are our office-based staff, who fulfil the marketing and administration.


What projects are you currently working on?

Busy times ahead!

With the end of our programme approaching, our focuses are to ensure we can support as many new businesses as possible, with the remaining grant pot being available to those who require it, and the team being keen to continue their support. Therefore, our marketing activity has shifted to prioritise stakeholder engagement, carried out by the team and the programmes Marketing Officer to communicate the remaining capacity and urgency.

We are also working closely with our clients (businesses we have already supported) to produce detailed case studies, for a mutual benefit. Additionally, we’re in the process of launching our latest diagnostic, which focuses on sustainability and low carbon.


What made you move to the 3M BIC?

We are part of the university, and work in partnership with the 3MBIC.


Why do you like being based at the 3M BIC?

It is nice to work in an environment with like-minded businesses and professionals. There are opportunities to build connections, access resources, and feel part of a community.


What should we be looking out for in your industry?

A number of business events will be held towards the end of the year, as part of the programme activity, and also on a collaborative basis with our key stakeholders – these will offer a mix of networking, insights to current opportunities, fun and learning.

It is also important to mention that within the enterprises supported by the programme, evidential figures suggest a contribution to growth and development within the industry; to date we have seen 404 jobs created, and the introduction of 472 ‘new to the firm products’ which tracks vastly ahead of target.


What are the future plans for LCR Supply Chain?

In line with the ERDF funding, the programme comes to an end in March 2023, which means we will be accepting applications until December this year. We currently have the remaining capacity to support approximately 60 new SMEs, therefore we are urging businesses to take action, should they be seeking business support, or grant funding. Potential future programmes are on the horizon, so watch this space…

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