A lightweight hovercraft, an Olympic torch and the electric powered three-wheeled ‘Raptor’ were just some of the UK manufacturing innovations that greeted Business Secretary Vince Cable outside his offices yesterday.
Dr Cable was given a guided tour of the Manufacturing Advisory Service’s showcase of SME manufacturing excellence, currently on display at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Victoria Street Headquarters in London.
He chatted with senior figures from participating firms about the current economic landscape, apprenticeships, international trade and the type of specialist support they need to unlock their potential, telling them “The Government wants to make the UK the best place to start and grow a business.”
The Business Secretary also used the exhibition to praise the vital role SME manufacturers are playing in the economic recovery, with this vital and often overlooked segment of the industry making up over 70% of England’s manufacturing businesses and employing 1.1 million people.
Vince Cable said: “We are rightly proud of the manufacturing talent we have in this country, but larger household names are just part of the success story.
“There are more than 80,000 small to medium-sized businesses, who are investing in developing new products and technologies that will be used across the world. This showcase gives visitors a firsthand glimpse of some great British success stories.
He added “SMEs are overcoming challenges and identifying new opportunities, with the help of the Manufacturing Advisory Service, ultimately leading to increased sales and the creation of new jobs.”
The Manufacturing showcase runs until the end of this week and features seven companies and their products including:
• Anglepoise (distinctive office and home lighting)
• Ashwood Timber (custom-made timber shepherd huts for glamping)
• Alucast (manufacturers of the top and bottom caps for the Olympic torch)
• Ecospin (designers and manufacturers of the electric powered Raptor)
• Flying Fish (lightweight hovercrafts)
• Grillstream (new technology for BBQ and commercial cooking systems)
• Kleenoil (fuel efficiency and emissions reductions product)
The showcase also features an exhibition on the Manufacturing Advisory Service and the types of support it offers to SMEs, ranging from assistance with strategy and process improvements to new product development and supply chain development.
“The Government wants to make the UK the best place to start and grow a business” Vince Cable
In the last year, the organisation has worked with 12,000 firms in England, helping deliver a forecasted additional £620m in gross value added to the economy.
MAS says its specialist support is predicted to safeguard and create approximately 27,000 jobs.
Karl Eddy, partner at Grant Thornton and head of MAS, explained: “I’m delighted at the response we have had and the interest shown from visitors to the showcase, many of whom have been from overseas.”
He added: “This is a great way to put SME manufacturers in the spotlight and demonstrate how MAS works for the sector. It is also the perfect way to gain momentum for our Manufacturing Matters campaign.”
The showcase at BIS is open from 09.00 to 17.00 until October 4. For further information, please visit www.mymas.org or follow @mas_works on twitter.