Source: Insider Media
Two initiatives, led by the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre, could contribute £100m of gross value added and nearly 500 full-time jobs to the region’s economy, new analysis has found.
Over the last two years the European Regional Development Fund projects – Cheshire & Warrington 4.0 (CW4.0) and LCR 4.0 Holistic – have supported 308 SMEs and start-ups across the North West.
As a result, 150 full-time jobs have been generated – 90 of which are in Cheshire and Warrington’s advanced manufacturing sector.
The projects have helped SME manufacturers and supply chain businesses to integrate new digital technologies into their operations, including developing customer service tools and gaining real-time insights into processes through data analytics.
Over half of Cheshire and Warrington’s SMEs surveyed reported an increase in productivity, while 60 per cent reported an expansion in business growth.
The LCR 4.0 Holistic initiative specifically has resulted in a 30 per cent diversification rate into new markets for participating SMEs, offering additional opportunities and financial gains.
Andrew Borland, chief innovation officer at the Virtual Engineering Centre, said: “North West manufacturers are primed and uniquely positioned to respond to global challenges. From renewable energy and transportation to pharmaceuticals and the chemicals sector.
“SME manufacturers we have been lucky enough to work with have proven that cutting edge R&D in AI, robotics and the sciences from our universities can be harnessed locally to deliver new products, processes, and services.
“Putting the challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit behind them, this proactive approach highlights the sector’s commitment to innovation, creating competitive products that deliver both environmental sustainability and robust economic growth.”
Andrew Levers, executive director for the Institution for Digital Engineering and Autonomous Systems (IDEAS), University of Liverpool and Principal Investigator for LCR4.0 and CW4.0, added:
“These impressive figures are a real testament to the success of CW4.0 and LCR 4.0 Holistic.
“Its success would not have been possible without each of the partners and supporting Growth Hubs, each determined to help SMEs in the region become more efficient, sustainable, and successful as we aim to become an epicentre for business support within the region and beyond.
“The improved understanding and confidence levels of such organisations has resulted in over 130 new products crossing the development line, with 83 additional new products being launched to market, strengthening the regional offering. We hope to see continued innovations throughout the regions in the future and are looking to continue in our collaborations and support through additional initiatives and projects.”
For more information about Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre click HERE.
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