ERDF Contract Managers meet SME beneficiaries

  • Published on 31st May 2019

Representatives from MHCLG met with some of The iNet's SING and PACE beneficiaries to see and hear how our support has helped the businesses to grow

ERDF logo

All European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funded projects in England are monitored by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), to ensure the projects are being administered appropriately. 

On 16th May, The iNet were delighted to accompany two MHCLG representatives, Sarah Edwards (PACE ERDF Contract Manager) and Vera Adesogan (Contract Support) on a visit to meet two of our beneficiaries at their factories. 

We first visited The Lurex® Company Ltd, based in Blaby and were welcomed by the MD Kit Blake.

The Lurex® Company Ltd produces the shiny metallic thread which appears in many fashion and accessory items, some of which are very high value. The threads are produced by cutting down a wide range of metallised polyester sheets to 0.5mm or less and are valued globally as a visual enhancement product. 

The company became involved in a SING 5 day co-operation with Kerry Walton, lecturer in Textiles in the School of Arts, English and Design at Loughborough University. 

The objective was to explore potential new and exciting ways to use the thread, particularly in conjunction with carbon fibre thread. With a weaving background, Kerry was able to produce some samples of the combination of threads, with a variety of interesting patterns, and a second company was able to apply resin to the weave to produce firm structures, unfolding a range of possible applications. Kit is continuing to explore the possibilities with interested companies.

We then visited Lestercast Ltd, based in Leicester, and were welcomed by Martyn Whelpton, Technical and Operations Manager. 

Lestercast Ltd is a Centre of Excellence for the manufacture of Investment Castings, a process which uses the ancient lost wax method for producing very detailed metal components with a superior finish to that of other metal casting methods. Lestercast also provide a rapid prototyping service, allowing one-off components to be manufactured in very short lead-times using the very latest advances in 3D wax printing technology. The company are constantly striving to improve their processes and were supported by the SING project to develop and set up a “new” process in the ceramic shell coating and drying area. The new process replaces an alcohol based system, which comprised of Ethyl Silicate and an Ammonia gas for the ceramic coating process with a  water based process, thus eliminating the potential for harmful emissions from being emitted to atmosphere. The new process has also improved the overall quality of the shell moulds resulting in a stronger shell,  which in some cases has allowed for a reduction in the number of shell coats required.

After the visits, we had a working lunch in the Advanced Technology Innovation Centre (ATIC) at Loughborough University where Sarah and Vera met several of the tenants who have also received support from SING and PACE. These were RLC Technology Ltd, Cerebrum Matter Ltd and Andibee Ltd

Sarah and Vera were really pleased to meet all the companies and see and hear for themselves how the PACE and SING projects have contributed to their ongoing business growth.

We would like to thank the companies who hosted visits and those who joined us for lunch for their time and contribution.