The East Midlands' Textiles Association (EMTEX) has successfully secured seven new projects worth over £2million over the next four years to help local companies hone their skills in the latest e-commerce technologies.

Details of the projects were unveiled on Thursday at the official opening of Emtex's new 22 business studios and workshops in Nottingham.

Jeff Scrivner, chief executive of Emtex, described the news as "the most important and significant development supporting the clothing and textile sector."

Six of the projects, worth over £1.6 million, have been secured in an ERDF "Innovation and Technology Action Plan." These projects will support innovation and maximise the use of ICT in business activities including e-commerce, Web and Internet trading, selling and marketing, the creation of a business bureau, global trading, a design network, CAD facilities on-line, future industries, and new product development.

In addition, a new £420,000 Fieldwork Project has been attained through EMDA's Single Programme, also for the next 4 years. This will feature hands-on business support, giving practical assistance with IT in hardware and software. It will also create new opportunities by organising trade visits, getting export advice, carrying out market research, and providing networking links.

Jeff Scrivner added: "Manufacturers have a choice, they can either do nothing or they can take advantage by getting involved. This is a way in which they can get support. It's not only financial, but we will have the specialists and back-up available to help them. The focus is on innovation and technology in the companies and then maximising its use. We intend to get the very best for the sector."