A PROJECT to improve innovation in small and medium sized local businesses has been announced.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority in partnership with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership is working with organisations across Europe on the SMARTY project.

It will use learning and cooperation with partners to share knowledge and best practice in the roll out of new technologies referred to as Industry 4.0 to drive productivity improvements in manufacturing.

Leeds City Region has the highest concentration of high value manufacturers in the UK and is therefore well-placed to address the challenges for the future of manufacturing.

The project will aim to increase SME innovation in Leeds City Region by tackling the barriers to adoption and take up of new technologies, ultimately contributing significantly to the productivity ambitions as set out in the LEP’s emerging Local Industrial Strategy.

Bradford Manufacturing Weeks hailed a 'huge success'

Research by the Combined Authority and the LEP highlights that closing the productivity gap between Leeds City Region and the UK could add £11bn to the regional economy.

Supporting investment in innovation in the City Region will result in more successful businesses, better jobs, increased productivity and wider prosperity for the region.

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “The SMARTY project offers an excellent opportunity for the Leeds City Region to benefit from cooperation to share and learn best practices to unlock potential and encourage innovation, research and development to boost productivity.

“Improving productivity continues to be a priority for the Combined Authority and the LEP to create better-paid jobs and to offer people a better quality of life. This project complements the significant support and advice the LEP already offers to SMEs through our Growth Service to develop new products and processes.”