Made Smarter’s One-Year Anniversary Charity Gala Dinner

CAPTION: Speaker Marc Priestly (left) with Craig Humphrey at the Made Smarter gala dinner

A major scheme to help manufacturing and engineering businesses in the West Midlands adopt cutting-edge digital technology to help them grow celebrated a successful first year at a charity gala dinner.

Made Smarter, a £1.9 million programme led by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, allows companies access to match-funded grant funding, digital experts and internships that can help their businesses take the next step forward.

It has seen more than 200 businesses sign up since it was rolled out in the West Midlands in June 2021 – far more than was initially expected.

And an average GVA of £757,000 has been generated for businesses that have received their grants, showing the huge benefits of signing up to the scheme.

This success was celebrated at a gala dinner held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham – where more than £2,800 was raised in a charity auction for Acorns Children’s Hospice.

Several speakers highlighted just how successful the campaign has been so far and how much it is helping SMEs in the West Midlands.

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said: “It’s been fantastic to see just how successful the Made Smarter scheme has been in the West Midlands over such a short space of time, and it was only fitting to celebrate that success with those that have made it happen.

“To have more than 200 companies signed up at this stage, and to generate an average GVA of £757,000 for those who have claimed their grants, is absolutely brilliant.

“Productivity is such a crucial aspect of the economy here in the West Midlands, and Made Smarter is helping so many of the region’s manufacturing and engineering SMEs get the help and support they need to adopt digital solutions to massively boost efficiency and take their business to the next level.”

Anne Boyd, chair of the Made Smarter West Midlands Steering Group and chief executive of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, added: “Made Smarter is having a huge impact on manufacturing and engineering businesses in the West Midlands, and the gala dinner was a wonderful way to mark our success. To raise more than £2,800 for Acorns during the evening was the icing on the cake.”

And Martin Banbury, honorary Vice President of Acorns Children’s Hospice, said: “We’re thrilled that the gala dinner raised so much for Acorns.

“Made Smarter is clearly doing great things for SMEs in the West Midlands, and it was lovely to see so many of those that have worked hard for that success putting in generous bids during the charity auction.

“The money raised will make a real difference, helping us to continue providing our lifeline care and support to local children and families. From everyone here at Acorns – thank you!”

To sign up to Made Smarter or for more information, visit

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub is leading the one-year Made Smarter scheme with the region’s other Growth Hubs in Greater Birmingham and Solihull, the Black Country, Worcestershire, The Marches, and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The West Midlands Growth Hubs are working closely with WMCA and their strategic partners Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry and WMG, University of Warwick.