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    NAA Update: NAA exhibitors enjoy another successful year at the Low Carbon Vehicle Event, the NAA Awards Dinner is approaching, and funding is available!

    The NAA had a stand again this year at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle Event – our exhibitors have given very positive feedback about the show and they even appear on a video by TV personality Robert Llewellyn; the 2014 NAA Awards Dinner is fast approaching, so if you want to attend, please book a table or a seat now; and there are currently various sources of funding available for growing businesses

    I’m sitting writing this on another glorious morning, it doesn’t seem possible that it was two months ago that I wrote the last article in similar weather, as I was about to go on a relaxing holiday with lovely weather to Cornwall – please keep your fingers crossed that it will continue for the next week as this time I am taking a few days off and heading to Scotland!

    We had thought that August would give us an opportunity to recover from the first half of the year and prepare us for the remainder of the year – how wrong can you be, it has continued to be very hectic. This is demonstrated by the fact that we now have 145 members of Business Excellence, the two new recruits since the last newsletter being Fuel Exhausts Ltd in Cumbria and Zeroshift Transmissions in Cheshire. The bulk of the workload during the last period was related to the BE project activity – we are now up to 111 projects with over 30 being live, either in delivery mode or in the tendering stage. Please remember that we have money available across the NW, so if you are currently planning to undertake work with an external company within your 2015 budgets please start to work with us now so that we can assist in the funding of the activity. We have removed the prioritisation for companies that had not received money from us previously, so it is now a “free-for-all” until all the money is allocated. Please contact Amanda ( to commence the discussions and documentation to support your request for finance.

    Last week saw the NAA and six companies attend the Cenex LCV Show at Millbrook Proving Ground, please take the opportunity to read the article on this, as this show really is the place for all new future vehicle technologies. Our places for next year are already filling up fast, so if you are involved in new vehicle technologies please speak to me to reserve a place. It would be excellent if we could grow our stand with an additional three companies for 2015. It is a very friendly show, with ride and drive opportunities, and this year I managed to escape meetings and stand duties for a short while to drive a transit van powered by hydrogen from one of our companies around the Millbrook hill circuit. The networking opportunities at the event never fail to amaze me, with serious joint product ideas being developed on the stand by our own companies, let alone the wider discussions with other stands and visitors.

    I hope you are preparing yourselves for the NAA 2014 Annual Awards Dinner; the awards application date has now passed, so for those of you who have applied – good luck and please be ready for the information that we require to maximise your PR opportunities both on the night and on a broader basis. Tickets/tables are selling fast so please don’t leave it too late. I’m looking forward to the new venue, we will have a new Master of Ceremonies, and Jerry Hardcastle of Nissan and the Automotive Council will be our guest speaker.

    It is only two years since we refreshed our website, but times have moved on and we now need a website that is fully mobile device compatible, with simpler navigation and easier on the eye. Critically, it will also convey more effectively the size and importance of the North West automotive industry to visitors from the rest of the UK and overseas. We have commissioned the site to be developed and we expect it to go live in the next month, watch this space!

    I recently prepared some information for a presentation I gave on behalf of three of the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and was pleasantly surprised when I realised the volume of funding opportunities that exist both at a local and national level to provide support – it has become a little of a maze, so if you need any help or guidance in finding the right opportunity for you then please let us know and we will guide you in your journey. One renewed opportunity that I heard about last night is the AMSCI 4-LEP fund; this was fully allocated until recently, but they now have loan money that has been paid back and therefore have money available to support companies again. Unfortunately you need to be based in Liverpool City Region LEP to take advantage of this scheme; an example of success in the first round of funding was the NGF EUROPE expansion for the new glass cord manufacturing technology.  Further information can be found on the Finance Birmingham website Your initial contact for an Expression of Interest application should be with Simon Reid from Liverpool City Region LEP ( or contact us and we will introduce you to Simon. For SMEs who wish to apply for funding, MAS is offering free support for one day; followed by up to five days of support with 50% funding. As before, for non-SMEs the NAA can assist in the funding of external support, such as using bid writers via the Business Excellence project; so whatever the size of your company, if you have growth plans, there is no excuse – just do it! (But with a little help from your friends…)

    It is going to be a busy, but interesting and exciting period, through to the end of the year and I look forward to catching up with you during our events – we have one per month, starting next week with the visit to mi Technology; see you there!



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