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    NAA Update: Book now for two of 2015’s top events: our Business Excellence Networking at BAC Mono, and to be part of our stand at the CENEX Low Carbon Vehicle Show

    Please book now for both of the above events to avoid disappointment, and also take a look at our story about the £7.5m of investments that the North West supply base made in 2014 along with the creation of more than 230 jobs

    I hope that this newsletter finds you fully back into the swing of work after the festive period and also that, unlike me, you have not suffered from the germs that are prevalent at this time!

    2015 will be another year of change, those of you with live Business Excellence projects know that they must be completed by June 2015, by which time we will also have a new government! However, some things evolve rather than change, so you will see later in the newsletter about our next Business Excellence Networking meeting which will be on 25 March – put it in your diaries now as it is the one not to miss, as we will be visiting the home of the BAC Mono in Speke. Zoe will happily take your reservation now, please email her on

    Take a look at our good news article on the investments and success that our SME supply base had during 2014. This has also been a press release and we have had lots of positive feedback on it, so we will probably look at repeating the activity mid-year, gathering feedback during July and August ready for publication early September; so if you want to be included in the next version of it, then please let us know and be ready with the information from the first six months of this year on your investment and jobs status.

    I hope that all the SMEs amongst the readers are preparing their funding application to the skills fund for SMEs that was announced mid-December and closes at the end of February, to develop anyone within an engineering occupation. The fund offers a 50% contribution and has a minimum threshold of £10,000 grant/£20,000 total expenditure, which can be spread over three years and can include staff wage costs during training as part of the eligible costs. It is on a first-come, first-served principle; and they guarantee an answer within 5 weeks. If you have any questions on this then please contact us at the NAA and we can assist you developing your application. If all the money is taken in this round there is a promise of more rounds to come, so I suspect the mantra of “use it or lose it” applies, so get your applications in now!

    I know that it is early to be thinking about September, but we need to start our CENEX Low Carbon Vehicle Show plans, or as someone called it last year – the place to be if you have any new technology that is relevant for vehicles. If you would like to join us on the NAA stand, we hope to have the same spot as the last two years, you can join us whether you are a large or small company, all are welcome, but we do need to start the process now so please email if you would like to make a reservation.

    I would like to thank those of you who have assisted us in our 2015 Strategic Review Survey; we will be publishing the results in our next newsletter.


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