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Made Smarter joins forces with university to create digital manufacturing leaders

Delegates from 15 manufacturers across the North West have graduated from Made Smarter’s trailblazing Leading Digital Transformation programme with Manchester Met.

Designed by Made Smarter – a government-funded initiative to increase tech adoption among SME manufacturers – and Manchester Metropolitan University, Leading Digital Transformation empowers participants to create a bespoke digitalisation strategy for their business.

The three-month fast-track programme is delivered through a blend of face-to-face workshops, online webinars, case studies to see technology in action and a site visit to PrintCity, Manchester Met’s 3D additive and digital manufacturing centre.

Celebrating the success of the first cohort, Donna Edwards, Director of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme inthe North West, explained:

“It’s clear that leadership and digital skills are needed to ensure businesses, especially SMEs, are properly equipped to deal with what lies ahead. Our mission is to develop a generation of digital leaders.

“I am delighted to celebrate the graduation of this latest cohort who have seen the value of taking time out of their businesses to share ideas and experiences and return with new ideas and a digital strategy to create sustainable growth.”

Dr Ann Mulhaney from the Centre for Enterprise at Manchester Met, added:

“We're thrilled by the feedback of our first cohort, helping these business leaders at such a critical time for the industry. We look forward to working with the next group of participants as we collaborate on Made Smarter’s vision to create digitally-empowered SME manufacturers.”

Among the programme’s first 15 graduates are CNC Robotics and Arden Dies, two manufacturers that have also benefitted from the Hub’s Manufacturing Service in recent years.

The Manufacturing Team’s expert advice and guidance has proven to be a valuable pre-cursor to digitalisation for those exploring digital technologies for the first time.

For example, Arden Dies, a die and tooling manufacturer in Stockport, put itself in a great position for digital transformation by first embedding continuous improvement and lean thinking with the help of our Made for Manufacturing programme.

Read Arden Dies’ story

GC Business Growth Hub was part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2021, as part of a portfolio of ERDF-funded programmes designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester. Eligibility criteria was applied. The 2014-2021 ERDF  fund was allocated by the European Union that finances convergence, regional competitiveness and employment and territorial co-operation.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government was the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which was one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information, visit European Regional Development Fund: Documents and Guidance - GOV.UK (

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