A multi-million pound funding pot to help regional manufacturers is now open.
North East employers can access up to £14million of the £24million cash, with the rest earmarked for the West Midlands.
The scheme was launched to increase the manufacture of tools in England, and so far 20 UK firms have received a slice of the cash.
But at a packed meeting of the Advanced Manufacturing Forum (AMF) in South Shields, members were urged to make use of a £14million portion of the total pot.
The Tooling Fund is managed by Finance Birmingham for Birmingham City Council and is being rolled out countrywide.
It can help manufacturers with cash injections of between £50,000 and £1million.
Steve Hetherington, investment director of Finance Birmingham, said: “The component manufacture must happen in England.
“We recognise that there are tools that are made in China, Italy, and Portugal, and they get brought into the UK.
“Provided the tools are finished here in UK, and sub-component part manufacture takes place here, we can fund those tools.”
Other criteria which must be met includes:
• Proven ability to complete similar projects.
• Must be creating or safeguarding jobs in England.
• Are unable to obtain the finance in whole or in part from an existing provider.
Money from the fund is classed as a loan rather then a grant, but with an interest rate and arrangement fee of 1% and no other costs, it could be a positive move for manufacturers.
The loan cash is reimbursed when the manufacturer gets paid for the end product.
Jack Hanwell, manufacturing sector development manager for AMF, said: “AMF was delighted to have been able to provide this opportunity to its manufacturing members.
“Support such as this is vital to help manufacturing compete on the global stage and AMF’s regular monthly events will continue to provide practical and informative advice.”
The AMF meeting also focused on how manufacturers can gain access to expertise and world class facilities available in the North East.
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