Business boost for north west SMEs

Lancaster University has launched a £1.7m Engineering Design Academy aimed at boosting the performance of more than 128 small and medium-sized enterprises in north west England.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with matched funding from Lancaster University as well as from private sector partners, the academy will use research expertise in the Engineering Department to support businesses, with a particular focus on advanced manufacturing.

In addition to bringing significant benefits to North West SMEs, the academy – funded until June 2015 – will also increase the employability of Lancaster University students and help to plug skills gaps in the region’s engineering sector.

Businesses can benefit from the academy in a range of ways such as accessing students, graduates, engineers, as well as facilities and equipment.

The academy is a resource available for SMEs who have received less than €200,000 of public funding within the last three financial years and that are based in Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester or Lancashire.