UK Digitalisation Programme Funds Apparel Manufacturers

Updated: Jan 4

By Just Style


This article was published in Just Style December 3, 2021.


The UK government-funded digitalisation programme, Made Smarter, which aims to help businesses such as apparel and textile manufacturers use technology to decarbonise has invested GBP4.6m over the past three years.

The UK digitalisation programme has announced that three apparel and textile manufacturers are the latest to receive funding from the initiative, which is based in North West England.


The apparel and textile manufacturers who are now using technology to benefit their business, their bottom line and the environment include Derek Rose, an apparel manufacturer in Congleton; Private White VC, a luxury apparel manufacturer in Manchester and Lantex, a textile manufacturer in Accrington.


Small and medium enterprise (SME) manufacturers across different sectors have secured £4.6m matched funding for 241 projects, worth £16m after private sector investment.


Made Smarter’s co-chair Juergen Maier is pleased with the initiative’s success since it launched three years ago and believes the UK manufacturing sector will thrive if the initiative is rolled out across the UK.


He said: “It is clear from the unequivocal success we are seeing in the North West, and the positive effect adoption programmes in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, and the North East, are having that we are starting to grasp the multitude of opportunities that innovation and digital technologies offer.”

Donna Edwards, Director of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West added:

“Over the last three years we have worked extremely hard to drive digital technology usage among makers across the North West. We have engaged with 1,381 SMEs in the region to help them start their digital journey by providing them with specialist advice to help them select the right approach, level of investment and tools for their business.”


Since launching in 2018, Made Smarter says it has engaged with 1,381 businesses to help them introduce digital tools and technologies that help boost productivity and growth, navigate Covid-19, and tackle climate change.


While, 670 businesses have reaped the rewards of intensive support including expert, impartial technology advice and 248 have used digital transformation workshops to help take their first steps to transform their business.


Manufacturers have also benefited from funded digital technology internships which offer students and graduates paid placements to work on live technology projects.


The initiative explains that over 80% of SMEs that have adopted cutting-edge technologies have seen a boost in productivity, while others have benefited from an increase in revenue and exports, job creation and new skills within the workforce, as well as improved visibility and enhanced integration with supply chains.


Over a quarter have reduced their carbon emissions, while others cut energy bills, reduced waste, and became more environmentally sustainable.


Edwards pointed out: “Digitalisation enables businesses to find the sustainability sweet spot between these economic, social, and environmental goals. We look forward to continuing our drive to enable hundreds more manufacturers in Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, and Liverpool City Region to learn how digital transformation can help them recover, grow, and create resilience.”

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