Aerospace Unlocking Potential (Aerospace UP) is offering support to Sandwell SMEs active in, or looking to diversify into, the aerospace supply chain.
Aerospace UP is a £20m project, running until 2023, which supports the aerospace supply chain in the Midlands by helping to unlock its innovation potential. The project is being delivered by the University of Nottingham and the Midlands Aerospace Alliance.
Aerospace UP is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which helps businesses to access funding and expertise to improve their performance through innovation in all aspects of their enterprise. As a pan-Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) project, Aerospace UP is available to SMEs in eight Midlands LEP areas.
It is offering innovation grants to businesses with fewer than 250 employees, a turnover of less than €50m or a balance sheet total of less than €43m located in the following areas:
- Black Country
- Coventry and Warwickshire
- Greater Birmingham and Solihull
- Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire
- Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
- Greater Lincolnshire
- Leicester and Leicestershire
- South East Midlands
The amount of funding available from Aerospace UP differs based on region but for Black Country businesses grants of between £1,000 and £100,000 are available. Project spend can exceed the offered grant amount but it will be capped at an agreed grant amount.
The timescale of the proposed project can range in length. However, due to the programme ending on 30th June 2023 the latest end date for project spend is 31st March 2023.
While it is not essential for businesses to have a particular project in mind at the beginning of their engagement with the Aerospace UP delivery team, it may be useful to think beforehand about the areas where the innovation grant might be able to provide assistance. These might include:
- Ideas for new technology, business systems or processes to help to aid growth, improve productivity, or give you a competitive advantage.
- Ideas for greener technologies, products or processes.
- Ideas to improve efficiency, reduce the cost of manufacture or lead time to assist in business growth and increased market share.
- Mapping out how your company could potentially evolve to meet future market and customer requirements.
- Any quality or delivery issues, which, if solved, could lead to business growth and increased market share.
- Particular problems in the manufacture of new products where the assistance of experts might be helpful.
To apply for an innovation grant the process involves an initial expression of interest, followed by a full proposal if the SME applying is eligible. Expression of Interests can currently be submitted at any time.