Man working in AFRC

Advanced Forming Research CentreSmall & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the UK economy.

The challenges faced by these businesses are often much more varied and differ significantly from those faced by their larger counterparts.

In a drive to support and bolster small and medium-sized manufacturers, regardless of industry, the Advanced Forming Research Centre set up a team solely dedicated to supporting the development of these companies.

There's a wealth of help – practical and financial – available to small and medium businesses, particularly those involved in manufacturing. The help comes mainly from government-backed bodies or the European Union.

In the UK, for a company to be defined as an SME it needs to meet two out of the three criteria listed below:

  • a turnover of less than £25million
  • fewer than 250 employees
  • gross assets of less than £12.5million

The European Union’s definition differs slightly:

  • employs fewer than 250 persons
  • annual turnover of less than 50 million euro and/or an annual balance sheet total of less than 43 million euro

Are you ready to innovate?

Innovation is key to your business development and success.  

When a business is setting out to innovate, it usually faces a number of challenges. Some of them can be obvious such as a lack of financial resource, some not immediately so, such as communication issues. Best practice in today's business world tells us that it is very important to take a comprehensive strategic view of innovation readiness.  

Our Readiness for Innovation (R4I) self-assessment tool can help you to test your organisation’s capabilities and needs, to create your own report and to engage with us to design your own bespoke innovation plan.

Help available

Case studies

Funding opportunities

In 2016 the AFRC engaged with 166 Scottish SMEs