Funding Opportunity - Solving Supply Chain Challenges for Smaller Manufacturers

In this innovation competition, we're looking to solve small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) supply chain challenges, funding the deployment of advanced digital technologies which could include artificial intelligence or the internet of things with up to £100,000.

Final applications close in

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The four challenge areas

Challenge 1: Compliance to mandatory regulations

Aiming to improve compliance and reduce the administrative burden on manufacturers through the use of digital and paperless systems, and support export growth through improved compliance to export regulations. The solution should look to apply advanced digital solutions to automate the compliance requirements. 

Challenge 2:  Sustainability 

Focusing on sustainability is important for manufacturing SMEs in the UK because it can help them comply with regulations and reduce costs. Topics such as waste reduction and product lifecycle assessments are becoming increasingly paramount to the functioning of smaller manufacturing companies. This challenge will look at ways to utilise advanced digital technologies with a key focus on sustainability.

Challenge 3: Supply Chain Visibility

Aiming to increase visibility of supplier delays to enable more resilient Supply Chains. Manufacturing SMEs have been impacted over the last few years by supply shortages and lack of materials and increased lead times. This challenge will look at how by using digital technologies and data sharing, earlier visibility of changes to supply or lead times can be made available so manufacturers can respond more effectively.  

Challenge 4: Input costs and sourcing 

Increasing inflation and costs have significantly impacted input costs for SME manufacturers. This challenge aims to understand the true costs of a supplier’s components or materials including, price, logistics, inventory holding, lead-time, risk and CO2. Often the wrong decisions are made as total cost is not understood. Using digital tools to better model total supplier input costs and how they change over time will enable better decision making for SMEs. 

Final applications close in

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Why get involved?

There is up to £100,000 available for a tech solution provider to produce a MVP across nine months, focused on creating a low cost solution to solve these challenges for UK manufacturing SMEs.   

Who should apply?

The programme seeks applications for technology innovators who will be interested in piloting technology solutions with UK manufacturing SMEs. Register your interest on the form below. 


  • You can express your interest today to be notified on the day applications open.
  • Applications to join the programme will open in April and you will be informed as soon as the applications are open. 
  • Applications will close in May. 
  • The review of applications will take place throughout May with the winners being contracted in June.  
  • The programme delivery will run from July till March 2024.

Register now

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