New support for York and North Yorkshire businesses as leading regional media figure joins the Growth Hub

Mike Pennington has recently joined the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub as a Business Relationship Manager. A leading figure in regional media, Mike has started work supporting businesses in York and North Yorkshire.

In 2023, he will connect York and North Yorkshire businesses into a government scheme called Made Smarter, which aims to boost UK manufacturing growth through industrial digital transformation. An adoption programme is underway, helping manufacturers to understand and overcome operational challenges through digital technologies as well as tech and learning support.

Businesses who register for the scheme are assessed by Digital Transformation Specialists to form a comprehensive road map for adopting digital technology. This could result in a leadership development programme, as well as receiving a match-funded grant of up to £20,000 to implement projects focussed on key elements of the manufacturing process.

Mike said: “Made Smarter will provide many businesses in York and North Yorkshire with a great opportunity for growth. I would encourage all manufacturing, engineering and food producing businesses to take a close look at the Made Smarter offer. It opens doors to free, specialist expertise and potentially impactful funding to really help businesses achieve their goals.”

Mike is a familiar name in the UK media industry, having held senior management and commercial positions across leading regional media groups. He has worked and lived in Yorkshire all his life. His 36-year career began as a sales advisor at Yorkshire Post Newspapers and progressed to managing director level, responsible for 500+ employees, 243 regional newspapers and 83 regional websites, with an audience of 44m unique users across the UK and revenues in excess of £200m with businesses of all shapes and sizes.

His time in regional media, which came to an end in 2019, also spanned sweeping changes to the way people consume news and how sales teams delivered client revenue proposals.

Mike said: “The newspaper industry had to change and that meant a great deal of collaboration, change management and determination to shift from a traditional print-based product to a digital first offering, with engaging content that could be successfully monetised. Businesses in all shapes and sizes are a key part of this region’s economy and Made Smarter will provide a real boost to many of them. I see a great deal of correlation between the media sector’s recent transformation and the future of the manufacturing transformation process.”

Businesses interested in Made Smarter can email Mike: Alternatively, further details are available at:

For more information about the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub and its full range of free and impartial business support, contact us today.

The Made Smarter Adoption: Yorkshire & Humber Programme is delivered by South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority in partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority, York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub and Hull and East Yorkshire LEP.