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Somerset firms take share of £2.3 million business boost

Somerset businesses are now benefitting from their share of grants totalling £2.3million from the South West Growth Fund.

These first grants from the fund, which was launched last year by Plymouth University’s GAIN team, SWMAS Ltd, South West Water Business Services and the Western Morning News, will deliver 300 new jobs for the region.


Supported by the Regional Growth Fund, the £8.7million South West Growth Fund supports transformational projects in businesses, primarily in manufacturing, marine and digital industries and is set to create a total of 1,000 new jobs.


The grants will support major expansions and allow a number of manufacturing and engineering firms to invest in the latest equipment to fast-track their growth and help them to compete nationally and internationally. 


The successful Somerset firms include Mages Group and Dan’s Engineering. A £63,000 grant is enabling third generation family business Mages Group to redevelop its facilities in Cheddar.  The engineering firm is aiming to increase its 22-strong workforce thanks to the new equipment and training which the grant has funded. Bridgwater metalwork firm Dan’s Engineering is expanding its premises and its team, thanks to a £15,000 South West Growth Fund grant.


Businesses are now being encouraged to submit full applications by 12th August to have a chance of securing a slice of the remaining fund.


Eligible manufacturing businesses can access expert advice from SWMAS Ltd, whose manufacturing specialists are on hand to provide independent technical knowledge and practical training for staff, helping firms make informed investment decisions and then supporting the deployment of new technologies into their production processes. Each successful business will also receive free water and energy audits provided by South West Water Business Services as a continuation of their mission to help regional businesses be more efficient.


Adrian Dawson, Head of GAIN at Plymouth University said: 

“The South West Growth Fund is the latest round of RGF funding to have been secured for the South West by GAIN and regional partners. Together these funds now total more than £20million and are forecast to support the creation of nearly 2,500 new jobs.
“As a University, we are particularly pleased that these grants will create a number of high level jobs, helping more of our graduates to stay in the South West as well as boosting innovation across the region.”

Simon Howes, Managing Director of SWMAS Ltd, said: 

“This scheme is unique, combining both funding for capital investment and expert on site support. It is delivering growth to our region and driving productivity improvements for our ambitious clients continuing our 13-year history of championing manufacturing in the South West.”

Monica Read, South West Water's Business Services and Sustainability Director, said: 

“South West Water Business Services is delighted to have played a key role in helping to secure funding for these grants, which are already providing a big boost to developing businesses and creating jobs in the South West.  Our business customers are our priority and we are pleased to offer free water and energy audits to successful companies, helping them to be resource efficient.”

Bill Martin, Editor of the Western Morning News said: 

"The Western Morning News has been proud to support Westcountry business throughout its history and is delighted to be associated with the type of job creation being stimulated   by the South West Growth Fund.”

High growth businesses across the region, from Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Dorset to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly can still apply for grants of up to £1million by visiting: 

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