DTI funds Manchester initiative

Design is to play an “integral part” in a 3m initiative aiming to help enhance worldwide competitiveness for Manchester’s 1400 manufacturers and software companies.

Made in Manchester, launched by Business Link Manchester and the city’s Training and Enterprise Council, plans to target local manufacturing companies which are losing out to bigger UK outfits and competitors from the Far East.

“Design is at the strategic end of economic development, it’s a heavy part of our programme,” says Manchester TEC director of manufacturing Richard Smith, who heads up the initiative. The drive will enhance the existing Business Link offer and focus on manufacturing.

It is often a case of educating manufacturers on the role of design and the impact it can have on material costs, says Smith. “We will work with companies who are moving into new products but do not have a design capacity”, which will create work for local design groups, he adds.

Management group PE International is contracted to deliver the initiative’s design programme.

PE International director Clive Britton adds: “When people realise the potential of redesign, small companies will see the benefit of bringing in outside design houses.”

The programme comprises six workshops followed by one-to-one sessions on the process of product development. The initiative is led by Dr Colin Mynott, former director of industry at the Design Council.

The 3m funding is made up of 1.2m from the Department of Trade and Industry and 1.8m from the private sector.

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