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    NAA Business Excellence Programme Update: BE Programme Gains Additional Resources, Rush for Mentoring and Technical Support Funding

    Amanda Allen has recently joined the Business Excellence Programme as Business Support Manager.

    I am pleased to announce that Amanda Allen has recently joined us as Business Support Manager. Amanda’s time will be split between the NAA and the Business Excellence Programme.

    Amanda is a highly motivated, dynamic and client focussed professional, with 12 years experience in new business development, account management, man management and training. Amanda’s recent roles include Business Development Manager at Stratum Worldwide, where she set up and was responsible for the North Wales office; and Regional Commercial Sales Manager at Gap Personnel. Amanda will prove an extremely valuable asset to the NAA and our Business Excellence Programme and will no doubt support you over the years.

    Rush for Mentoring and Technical Support Funding

    Since we have secured the £1.1 million Business Excellence Programme extension to June 2015 from the European Regional Development Fund, there has been considerable interest in companies both joining the programme and taking up subsidised technical support. Prior to the extension in June, membership stood at 68 companies. Since then, the number of members has increased by 16 to 84. New members since last month’s newsletter include:

    • Norlec
    • Colourhouse Masterbatch
    • Simtek
    • K&M Precision Engineering
    • Bosus Engineering
    • Acer Engineering
    • Surface Transforms

    Additionally, I have received 9 applications for funding towards mentoring and technical support. The process is relatively simple and the aim is to help companies to procure identified consultancy at the right price. My role is to help companies through all stages of the process, reduce workload and provide a financial contribution of 35% for SMEs (20% for large companies). The total value of the recent applications is in excess of £90,000, which is extremely positive. I still have healthy budgets to be allocated, so please contact me if you would like mentoring and technical support.

    If you know of any companies in the North West region who you believe would benefit from the BEP, then I would appreciate it if you would provide me with their contact details to follow up, or pass on mine.

    For those who didn’t get the opportunity to read about the changes in the services, in summary, the changes are minimal and the services are available to both existing and new members. Benchmarking is no longer free, but can be obtained through mentoring and technical support service; the free Business Excellence SMMT membership is no longer available; large companies receive a reduced contribution to mentoring and technical support and we are looking at ways to provide a 25% subsidy to the cost of exhibiting at events.

    For completeness, the services are free or heavily subsidised and include:

    • Subsidised mentoring and technical support – this is delivered through a panel of approved consultants. Once a company has identified where improvements can be made, then the client submits a funding request to BEP and is assisted with procuring service providers. A diverse range of initiatives can be supported, including system development, marketing, finance, sales, procurement, culture, HR, quality standards, communication, lean manufacture, etc. SMEs can obtain up to 35% contribution to consultancy costs and large companies a 20% contribution. For example, upon approval an SME with a £20,000 project would receive a contribution of £7,000.
    • Subsidised training from NAA-delivered courses.
    • Business Excellence networking – these are quarterly and include a site tour, case study and a vital topic chosen by BEP members. Other events are regularly held, dependent upon demand.
    • Promotion of companies’ products, services and successes regionally, nationally and internationally. This may include speaker slots at events, meet-the-buyer activity, subsidised and supported trade shows (25% contribution), inclusion in the automotive sector supply chain directory, production and promotion of successes achieved with support of the programme.
    • Referrals to other relevant national, regional and locally delivered programmes.

    As previously, the success of the programme is measured by the economic benefit that businesses achieve, for example, a record of individuals trained, jobs created and safeguarded and financial improvements in the business would need to be reported.

    Contact Me
    If you are interested in finding out more about the Business Excellence Programme and any of the above, then please contact me. My email and telephone numbers are as follows:, telephone 07870 812214 (direct mobile).

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Dr Martin Andrews
    Northwest Automotive Alliance

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham