Over 40 businesses have received technical support in the DMC MakerLab to help grow their businesses with solutions, new products and business efficiencies through the Digital Innovation for Growth Project (DIfG).
Financed by the European Regional Development Fund, DIfG has been supporting businesses within South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.
With access to both technical expertise in the DMC MakerLab in Barnsley; and academic research support through Sheffield Hallam University, businesses have been able to use digital technology to improve products and services, maximise efficiency and adopt new ways of working with no charge to the business.
With 44 SMEs using the 12 hours of dedicated available technical support time in the DMC MakerLab, businesses such as Sheffield Tribology Services have prototyped ideas, changed ways of working, and eight brand new products have been launched by the time the project ended at the end of June. In total, over 100 businesses engaged with the programme through a variety of interventions, events and workshops.
Ben White, Co-founder of Sheffield Tribology Services, said: “For our product, which detects friction on the railway lines to warn of potential damages, the support we’ve had has been essential - we’ve been able to take design risks, and in return, we have a better quality product.
“The DMC and access to support through the programme has provided access to equipment such as laser cutters and 3D printers to prototype our new device and turn it into an innovative business, ready to reduce damage and improve safety on the railway.”
Cllr Robert Frost, Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “We’re sad to see the Digital Innovation for Growth project come to an end. It’s been a great collaboration between the MakerLab at the DMC and Sheffield Hallam University to the benefit of many businesses in our region.
“Many businesses in Barnsley have fantastic ideas and being able to run a space which provides them the space, technical knowledge and most importantly equipment to support the ideas to allow them to grow really is a benefit to everybody in our borough.”
Alex Prince, Head of Innovation Services, Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Working with regional clients is a critical part of Sheffield Hallam University’s business-facing activities. Digital Innovation for Growth has been a great example of this, allowing us to focus on helping increase digital tech adoption and business productivity. Being able to deliver this alongside Barnsley has been a great experience, and one we very much intend to build upon in future.”
DIfG closed on 30 June 2023 and is no longer accepting new project requests, however, both Sheffield Hallam University and Barnsley DMC will continue to support organisations through academic expertise and research, access to facilities, project collaborations and more.
For Sheffield Hallam University enquiries, contact: Innovation@shu.ac.uk
For Barnsley DMC enquiries, contact: DMC@Barnsley.gov.uk