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Guelph company gets big bucks to help stay competitive

Firm says money will go towards 'big, better, faster' equipment

A local manufacturing company has received $875,000 from the provincial government to help it remain competitive in the global market place.

The money goes to the Guelph Manufacturing Group, which specializes in welding, metal stamping and tube and wire forming, primarily for the automobile industry.

It will be used to help upgrade technology and equipment that will help the company stay in and ahead of the game, said vice-president Brad Ireland.

"It's going to increase our capabilities and make us more competitive," Brad Ireland said.

"There's a large amount of competitors in the United States and worldwide that we have to deal with and we can't base our success on cheap labour. We need to be innovative in technology."

Bigger, better and faster equipment is being purchased.

Guelph Manufacturing Group operates three plants in Guelph, another in Georgia and has a sales office in Michigan.

It currently employs 523 people in Guelph and the latest provincial funding, in addition to tech upgrades, will create 31 new jobs, Brad Ireland said.

Company president Rob Ireland said that the company appreciates that the province is understanding of the fact that it's not all about job creation.

"There is a need to stay up with technology just to stay in the game," Brad Ireland said.

The grant comes from the province's Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, which covers up to 15 per cent of eligible costs of approved projects.

Guelph Manufacturing is investing almost $7.9 million into the upgrades.

The project is expected to be completed in 2020.

Guelph MP Liz Sandals toured Guelph Manufacturing's Lewis Road facility on Friday.

"From the government's point of view it's another one of these projects where we're looking at a local manufacturer becoming more efficient and therefore more competitive," Sandals said.

"As you upgrade the equipment, that will create greater productivity."

Sandals said the province is "becoming more cognizant" that manufacturers need help just to hold on to the market share they have.

"Sometimes you need to upgrade the equipment just to protect the jobs that are already here," she said.