Ton up for AIM programme as FinditintheBlackCountry member benefits


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In Summary

General | 26th March 2018
A Bilston company is the 100th business to benefit from City of Wolverhampton Council’s delivery of the EU-backed Black Country AIM (Black Country Advice Investment and Markets) programme.

In Detail

Following an initial business review, FinditintheBlackCountry member, Mako Precision Engineering, based in Hare Street, are being helped with expansion plans through a grant and ongoing support from the council’s business growth team. A Black Country GOLD grant has enabled the company to purchase new machinery.

They have also received guidance from the AIM project market development co-ordinator on how to win more contracts and are being helped by council and Department for Work and Pensions employment programme, Wolves at Work, with staff recruitment.

Mako Precision Engineering last year won a five-year contract with an aerospace company. It has been supplying fixtures and fittings to Jaguar Land Rover for the last seven years, and also produces parts for the motorsport industry.

The council’s business growth team, who are a partner in the Black Country Growth Hub, has recently launched a new Small Business: Big Impact brochure to highlight the support they offer to businesses. It is looking to add a further 25 companies to the AIM programme through the spring cohort.

Mako Precision Engineering Director, Steve Drinkwater, said: “In the few months we have been working with the city council business growth team we have accessed a wide range of information and support – much of which we were previously unaware of.

“Thanks to Sharan our main point of contact in the council we have attended relevant workshops in Marketing Strategy and Supply Chain to develop our knowledge and understanding.

“We have welcomed the grant support to help us invest in a new milling machine, which alongside further training for our already skilled staff, will ensure our position in a competitive market.

“I would certainly encourage any other businesses to speak to the council to learn about the support that is available, and to sign up to the AIM Programme.”

Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “Mako Precision Engineering are a perfect example of the innovative businesses we have here in Wolverhampton.

“The directors have a great drive and determination to succeed and the support from the Black Country Growth Hub is helping them channel that with great results.

“It is hugely satisfying to see the excellent business support structure in the Black Country - accessed through the council and a wide-range of partners and programmes such as the AIM programme – is helping.”

The council successfully secured funding from the EU to run the small grants programme, Black Country GOLD, which supports local companies wanting to make relatively small but transformational investments in their business.

To date, 29 local companies have had grant support agreed averaging 30 per cent of their investment costs. It has seen projects ranging from the purchase of bespoke CRM systems through to new steel rolling, bending and cutting machines, totalling over £1m in value, and securing £427,000 in grant support. The council provides business support through ERDF-funded programme AIM, helping with growth, investment, market development, and job creation. AIM pools the resources of the four Black Country local authorities, University of Wolverhampton, and Black Country Chamber of Commerce, to provide specialist consultancy to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) via the Black Country Growth Hub.

To get a copy of the Black Country Growth Hub’s Small Business: Big Impact brochure contact business.development@wolverhampton.gov.uk.

Photo:(L-R): Mako Precision Engineering company directors Steve Lawton, Julian Johnson and Steve Drinkwater with Councillor John Reynolds (front)