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Operate more efficiently

Successfully running a small business requires a great deal of time, energy, money, and other resources. If you want to increase your chances for success, you will need to focus on making your business as efficient as possible.

You can improve productivity by delegating work, remaining focused, utilising tools, automating processes, and welcoming change.

Business grants

Made Smarter - East Midlands

The Made Smarter East Midlands programme was created to help digitise UK manufacturers. Funding may be available to help you with robotics, lean manufacturing, additive manufacturing, Industry 4.0, VR, augmented reality, sensor analytics and data integration. It provides digital transformation road mapping, leadership development, grant funding and access to industrial digital technology expertise to help with implementation. 

The Manufacturing Growth programme

The Manufacturing Growth programme supports established small and medium enterprise manufacturers through a consultancy approach. They help to identify growth needs, create practical plans, and then can assist businesses to move towards increasing competitiveness and productivity. Eligible businesses will have access to some capital funding, to pay towards 30% of agreed project costs, up to a maximum of £10,000. Last applications are accepted in March 2023, as the programme closes at the end of June 2023.

The ARC Project

Small and medium enterprises in Hucknall and Nottingham City area can get free carbon reduction advice, and access to a grant which can cover up to 35% of eligible projects costs to a maximum of £16,000. This can be used to support low carbon energy efficiency projects. This scheme closes on 30 June 2023. 

Support from Universities

Promoting Sustainable Performance

University of Derby have developed a business health check tool that's specifically designed for small organisations across the D2N2 area. Its a free resource that can help you see how well your business is performing compared to others and importantly what you can do to improve this.


Enscite helps small and medium enterprises to develop supply chains. There is a range of free business support services for businesses in aerospace, rail and automotive supply chain. Businesses can access a series of online funded learning lab workshops, which have been specifically designed for challenges that they may face within this sector.

Grant funding is also available for any small or medium enterprises in this sector employing a recent graduate for a particular project to help improve competitiveness and productivity. With the Knowledge Exchange and Innovation (KEI) fund a business can get £5950 towards the cost of employing the graduate. Enscite is a partnership between the University of Derby and Aston University.

Energy for Business

Energy for Business is a low carbon innovation project from the University of Nottingham. They help small and medium sized businesses with product research and development, business support and have some capital funding and grants to help businesses to become low carbon business. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can grants get up to £10,000 or 40% of eligible project costs. Minimum projects to be considered are £2500 up to a maximum of £24,999. 

The Sustainability in Enterprise project

Nottingham Trent University offers practical support and funding to reduce the carbon emissions of eligible Nottingham small and medium enterprises based in Hucknall only.

Small and medium businesses can access free, practical support from specialists in sustainable business operations, building management, product design, and employee engagement. The idea is to help businesses understand their current carbon emissions are and identify effective carbon reduction measures. You can attend carbon management workshops, find out what your carbon footprint is and apply for a grant worth up to £5000 to support the implementation of eligible carbon reduction measures that increase energy efficiencies.

EMC North Nottingham Manufacturing Network

The East Midlands Chamber Manufacturing Networks builds on the success of the respected Nottingham Manufacturing Network (NMN). It is a peer-to-peer membership organisation consisting of a diverse range of manufacturing businesses. They are keen to promote growth in manufacturing and help members to address commercial problems. It’s completely free to join, but you must be a manufacturer.