It’s widely acknowledged that businesses in the Manufacturing and Supply chain sector have been one of the hardest hit following the challenges of the pandemic and Brexit. 

With this in mind, West Sussex County Council has prioritised funding for small and medium-sized businesses (no more than 249 employees) to receive specific innovation support to recover and boost growth.

If you are…

  • a leader or senior manager in the Manufacturing or Supply Chain sector with responsibility to drive innovation in the business?
  • determined to recover and grow following the challenges of Brexit and the pandemic?
  • looking to create a new, or adapt an existing, service, product or business models?
  • a small or medium-sized business or Social Enterprise including Community Interest Company or Charity with a trading arm, based in West Sussex?

…then this completely free programme could be for you!

Developed in partnership with The Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology Alliance (METALL), this programme has been designed to provide you with sector specific insights and innovate tools to help you turn challenges into market advantages.  

Our Horizons programme is a series of inspiring, thematic and sector specific workshops, created to share cutting-edge research and insights to help develop innovative approaches that will enable you to build resilience to national and global challenges within your business.

The Horizons programme will consist of FREE to attend masterclasses and workshops in the following areas:

+ Introduction to the Future of Manufacturing & Supply Chain – state of the art review of the sector
+ Understanding how AI and Blockchain can help traceability of supplies

+ Optimisation of manufacturing processes
+ The value of data analytics and Internet of Things and how machine learning can help
+ Sustainability and Net Zero support
+ Diversity and inclusivity to attract new staff and customers
+ New technologies for enhancing business operations 

+ New technologies and trends in supply chain management

+ How to start to implement innovation projects

+ R&D Tax Credits – Carpenter Box

+ Protecting Intellectual Property – DMH Stallard

The Programme – Starting Autumn 2022 – more dates to be confirmed

Remanufacturing – Transition to the circular economy with Sussex Business School Innovation Network

1 December – 16.00-19.00pm

University of Sussex, Falmer

Join us and be inspired to start or continue your creation of a circular economy.

There are many great practical examples of a circular approach, in both large and small businesses from Caterpillar remanufacturing and refurbishing engines to Patagonia’s clever ‘ Worn to Wear’ scheme and our very own local electronics refurbishment initiative Tech-Takeback who have saved tons of electronics from landfill.

However, it can be a daunting and challenging journey, which perhaps explains why, despite large-scale calls and support from global leaders to build a circular economy, progress has been limited with worldwide circular rate at 8.6% in 2022.

Meanwhile, our customers are drivers for adopting circular actions. SMEs face various challenges in integrating circular actions, legislation, and the complexity of the term has contributed to the misconception that the circular economy is costly and harmful to economic performance.

Despite these challenges, many businesses have successfully integrated circular actions or created a circular venture. How did they manage to do this? What challenges did they face and how did they overcome such challenges?

Delivered by University of Sussex Business School 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) for small businesses

7 December – 10.00-12.00pm


In this short but practical and interactive conversation, full of real examples and stories, we will explore what AI is and how some of its tools are ready for use now in our businesses.

From chatbots to sentiment analysis, from augmented reality to metaverses, you will hear real stories from how businesses in the UK and beyond are taking the first steps in artificial intelligence to enhance and innovate their product and service offerings.

It is early days for AI, so perhaps it is time for you to get up-to-date and maybe slightly ahead of the curve.

Delivered by Paul Levy – University of Brighton

Attract more customers and staff – equality, diversity and inclusivity

19 January 2023 – 10.00am-12.00pm


This masterclass will explore the business benefits to understanding and appealing to a truly diverse audience in your customers, suppliers, partners and other stakeholders.

Looking at this both from within an organisation and the people you recruit and work with, and the many other business relationships you have, this masterclass will support you in understanding the links between diversity and inclusion, innovation and business growth. 

Delivered by Diversity and Ability 

Becoming a more sustainable business

19 January 2023 – 1.00-4.00pm

Venue: Aldingbourne

This masterclass will unpack the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and consider how these can improve your business operations, efficiency and enhance your brand. It will also explore the challenges and practical actions you can take towards embedding sustainability in your business, including managing waste and resources.

Delivered by Dr Ryan Woodard

Action Learning Sets

This programme will include an Action Learning Set to support participants with the challenges and ideas arising from the sessions.

Action learning is a specific process where individuals get together with a facilitator to share business and organisational challenges and get the benefit of pooled advice and expertise from peers.

How long is the programme?

To get the maximum value from this unique opportunity businesses will need to undertake a minimum of 12 hours of support – this could be made up of masterclasses, workshops, action learning and 1-2-1 support from our Innovation Advisors. Horizons activity will run up to 31 March 2023.

If you have any questions about the RISE project or the Horizon programme, you can get in touch with the team at

Access up to £12,000 to support your project development

The programme culminates with an opportunity to further explore new business ideas and opportunities through a research and development project, working with subject experts from the university of Brighton or Sussex, to the value of up to £12,000, at no cost to the business.

Through our funding we can directly pay for the time of our top academics in the areas of expertise you need to work directly on your projects. It’s a simply process that includes our Innovation Advisors working with you to scope your project and map the skills and expertise needed -with the unique opportunity of having access to two pools university experts to choose from.

Please note: The Access to Expertise part of this programme is only available for eligible SMEs based in West Sussex.  All projects will need to be completed by 31 March 2023.

If you would like to know more about Horizons speak to our Innovation Advisors.

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Programme Date:

Sep 20, 2022

Jan 31, 2023

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