Manufacturers urged to tap into £24m fund

A £24m funding pot designed to help manufacturers in the North East and West Midlands grow is now available for businesses to tap into.

Employers in the North East can access up to £14m, with the remaining £10m earmarked for companies in the West Midlands.

The multimillion-pound Tooling Fund has been launched to increase the manufacture of tools in England.

Managed by Finance Birmingham, manufacturers are able to secure cash injections of between £50,000 and £1m through the fund, which has proved to be a positive talking point for the industry after a “negative shift in the way banks are dealing with tool manufacturers”.

Steve Hetherington, investment director of Finance Birmingham, said: “Banks are just not funding the manufacturers of tools. They have moved away from overdrafts and you can’t fund tools through invoice discounting.

“We have created a £24m Tooling Fund for five years which is there to fund the design, development and manufacture of tools.”

Money from the fund is classed as a loan rather than a grant but with an interest rate and arrangement fee of one per cent and no other costs, it is expected to be a positive move for manufacturers.

So far, out of the 20 companies which have received cash from the fund, five have successfully repaid.

Jack Hanwell, manufacturing sector development manager for the Advanced Manufacturing Forum, said: “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.”

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