If you have ever looked at ways to boost your manufacturing business, you may remember a scheme called MAS Grants. The scheme was run by the Manufacturing Advisory Service a few years ago, and provided grants for SME’s to help them achieve improvements to their business such as ISO Certification.
That scheme helped many SME’s, but closed some time ago. However, it was such a success that a similar scheme has recently been launched.
The Manufacturing Growth Programme Grant Scheme aims to provide support for SME’s in the manufacturing industry through several channels. Firstly, expert advisors will be on hand to help create a plan for the growth and improvement of your organisation. This will be based around identifying the risks and opportunities your organisation faces, planning actions to implement improvements, and planning for the future.
Included in the scope of the programme are two ISO standards: ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. ISO in the manufacturing business can be very beneficial. ISO 9001 provides a framework for quality management within the company and can produce helpful management information such as customer satisfaction levels. Modern manufacturers need ISO 14001 to be environmentally friendly to avoid damage to their reputation and prosecution from the authorities.
ISO standards bring many benefits to your organisation which help not just with growth, but many other advantages. It may be work looking at our ‘Popular Standards’ videos on Assent Youtube.
The scheme could also provide funding for up to 35% of the costs of implementing the improvement plan.
To qualify, your organisation must meet the criteria of an SME as defined by the EU:
- A turnover of €50million or less
- A balance sheet total of €43million or less
- No more than 250 employees
You must also be classed as a manufacturer as per the following definition:
“A business that engages in any economic activity directly related to a product or production process they have researched, designed or produced, or otherwise hold core intellectual property in”.
Finally, your intention to grow and improve your organisation must be clearly demonstrated. The ways in which to do this can include the intention to create more jobs, increased turnover, implementation of new processes and other such indicators.
Unfortunately there are some sectors that are not eligible: those organisations whose main operations involve fishery, aquaculture, agricultural products, shipbuilding, steel, coal and synthetic fibres.
The scheme is financially funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and a project with a value of £4000 would qualify for 35% grant contribution. The minimum grant application is £1000, and in exceptional circumstances larger grant applications may be considered. This would go some way towards the costs of preparing for ISO certification, including the contracting of an experienced consultant and the accreditation costs involved.
Once the grant has been confirmed, the project must be completed, paid and claimed within four months. For this reason, it may be beneficial to consult with the MGP to ensure you qualify and how much of a grant you are eligible for, then engage an experienced consultant to assist you with the project.
For more information on the MGP Scheme, please click here.
For expert advice on ISOs and managing risk within your organisation, please contact us.