£4 million to encourage the commercial use of compound semiconductors.

Innovate UK is to invest up to £4 million in innovative projects that help to speed up the use of compound semiconductors. This is in areas such as power electronics, RF/microwave, photonics and sensors.

We are seeking proposals with large and scalable commercial potential. The aim of this competition is to ensure that UK businesses can respond to market opportunities in compound semiconductors. Projects may lead to future collaboration with the new Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult.

We expect projects to range in size from total costs of £50,000 to £500,000. Projects should last between 6 and 15 months. You must complete the work, and incur, pay and claim for all costs before the end of March 2018.

A business must lead the project. Projects with costs of £100,000 or above must be collaborative.

For further details and to apply please click here

LEP Grant helps Manufacturer create jobs


Thirty jobs have been created at Advanced Engineering Techniques following a grant from Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The privately owned manufacturer created jobs alongside staff promotions and new senior management positions.

Established in 1989, AET specialises in laser cutting, machining and fabrications, supplying sectors such as bus and coach, road freight, yellow goods, offshore platforms, lifting equipment and security sectors.

The expansion of AET’s manufacturing capacity and the improvement of the factory layout to create additional space was made possible thanks to a grant from the LEP of £99,000. This formed part of a £450,000 total investment.

David Birch, managing director of AET, said: “The grant from the LEP funding has allowed us to take on 30 new employees, buy two new robots which run 24 hours a day and change the layout of the factory, all helping to increase turnover by 25 per cent.”

The funding also helped to free up some of AET’s budget to provide further training of their staff.

Nigel Brewster, vice chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “Thriving businesses such as AET unlock the region’s economic potential as well as build valuable international networks.

“The LEP board would like to congratulate all those at AET who have contributed towards the growth of the business and the benefit this brings to our region.”

NAYLOR INDUSTRIES EYES EXPANSION AFTER STRONG YEAR

Naylor Industries has pushed sales towards the £50m mark having overcome “exceptionally challenging” markets overseas. The South Yorkshire group, which comprises two manufacturing businesses, has now set its sights on expanding.

Founded in 1890, Barnsley-headquartered Naylor Industries is the parent company to Naylor Drainage and Naylor Concrete Products.

The former manufactures and sells clay and plastic decorative pots, while the latter manufactures concrete products.

For the year 29 February, Naylor Industries reported turnover of £48.3m compared to £46.8m the previous 12 months.

Pre-tax profit was also up from £1.59m to £1.73m.

The group said the year had been one of “good progress” although trading in overseas market had proved “exceptionally challenging”, with the strength of sterling impeding international competitiveness.

Naylor added that is turnover growth was held back by lower export sales within the clay division and difficult market conditions in the methyl plastics division.

Despite this, the group increased the size of its workforce from 292 to 316 “in anticipation of future growth”.

Naylor Drainage had a strong year and launched two new division; Naylor Environmental and Naylor Polymers. The company said that while the pair had not been material to the year’s activities, they are expected to contribute towards further growth.

The subsidiary also intends to expand its range of plastic pipes and is set to invest in its Cawthorne site towards the end of the 2017 financial year.

Meanwhile, Naylor Concrete Products had a “successful year’s trading”.

Group chief executive, Edward Naylor (pictured), said: “We are pleased at this performance in a transitional year in which we invested heavily in business infrastructure, with acquisition and refurbishment of the two new freehold sites at Barugh Green and Wombwell.

“We are already seeing the rewards of moving two businesses into larger premises, with the early stages of  2016/17 seeing organic growth as well as completion of the acquisition of Whites Concrete.”

Source: Matthew Ord, Business Insider, 27 July 2016