Tech skills from MakerLab for 40+ South Yorkshire businesses 

Businesses in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire are getting help to use tech to improve products and services, maximise efficiency and adopt new ways of working – all for free. 

The 44 small and medium-sized enterprises that have so far taken part in the DMC MakerLab scheme received 12 hours of dedicated tech support all with the aim of growing their business. It’s all part of the Digital Innovation for Growth Project (DIfG) initiative, funded therough the European Regional Development Fund. In fact, more than 100 businesses have engaged with the programme to date, through a range of interventions, events and workshops.

white and black checkered textile

Textiles in Sheffield, photo by Mario Mesaglio


Those that have taken part are already seeing the benefits. For example, Sheffield Tribology Services prototyped ideas, changed ways of working and by the time the projected at the end of June, eight brand new products had been launched.  

Ben White, Co-founder of Sheffield Tribology Services, says: ‘For our product, which detects friction on the railway lines to warn of potential damages, the support we’ve had has been essential – we’ve been able to take design risks, and in return, we have a better quality product. 

‘The DMC and access to support through the programme has provided access to equipment such as laser cutters and 3D printers to prototype our new device and turn it into an innovative business, ready to reduce damage and improve safety on the railway.’  

Cllr Robert Frost, Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, adds: ‘We’re sad to see the Digital Innovation for Growth project come to an end. It’s been a great collaboration between the MakerLab at the DMC and Sheffield Hallam University to the benefit of many businesses in our region. 

‘Many businesses in Barnsley have fantastic ideas and being able to run a space which provides them the space, technical knowledge and most importantly equipment to support the ideas to allow them to grow really is a benefit to everybody in our borough.’ 

Alex Prince, Head of Innovation Services, Sheffield Hallam University, says: ‘Working with regional clients is a critical part of Sheffield Hallam University’s business-facing activities. Digital Innovation for Growth has been a great example of this, allowing us to focus on helping increase digital tech adoption and business productivity. Being able to deliver this alongside Barnsley has been a great experience, and one we very much intend to build upon in future.’  

DIfG closed on 30 June 2023 and is no longer accepting new project requests. Yet the scheme has proved so successful that both Sheffield Hallam University and Barnsley DMC will continue to support organisations with academic expertise and research, access to facilities and project collaborations.

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