Chester firm helps scheme creating new jobs reach milestone

A CHESTER manufacturer has helped a scheme achieve a major milestone.

Three years on from the launch of Made Smarter, the government-funded and industry-led initiative helping SMEs drive growth and decarbonise through digitalisation, has now supported its 200th business.

ESL Fuels, a fuel producer and supplier in Chester, has already experienced the benefits of Made Smarter support, but is now taking the next step in their digitalisation journey.

Richard Donovan, general manager, said: “ESL Fuels is using technology to boost the efficiency of their operations and the support from Made Smarter is helping us scale our business and launch exciting new projects.”

A total of 22 SME manufacturers in the Cheshire and Warrington region have now secured £461,000 matched funding for 26 projects, worth £1.1M after private sector investment.

These investments are forecasting the creation of 77 new jobs and 173 upskilled roles, and are forecast to deliver an additional £13.5M in gross value added (GVA) for the Cheshire and Warrington regional economy over the next three years.

Technologies that integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes, are being used to drive efficiencies and reduce waste. Meanwhile, 3D-printing, automation, and robotics are being used to solve business challenges and meet increased demand.

Donna Edwards, director of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, said: “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.

“We have seen huge success with Made Smarter-supported businesses reporting growth, productivity and efficiency gains, as well as upskilling their workforce and creating new high-value jobs. We’re also playing a crucial role in helping the UK grow sustainably and reach its ambitious aim of net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.”

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Chester and District Standard | Business