A new initiative to help manufacturing directors manage expansion and retain their best staff has been launched by the Manufacturing Advisory Service on day four of its Manufacturing Matters week.
Financial Expert, a series of workshops, is looking to provide firms with access to support on critical financial issues that could hold back their growth plans.
Working with independent advisory specialists Grant Thornton, the interactive MAS workshops will help companies understand the best options for accessing finance, tapping into alternative funding streams and unravelling the tax implications of innovation and expansion.
There will also be sessions on succession planning and strategies for retention of skilled employees, an issue for SME manufacturers increasingly having to compete with the incentive packages offered by larger businesses.
Steven Barr, head of the MAS, said access to finance remains a big industry concern.
“In recent research by the MAS Barometer, 30% of firms cited access to finance as a major barrier to growing their business,” he said.
“And it’s not simply securing the money they need to fund growth that is causing the managerial headaches. When questioned, directors are pointing to missing out on tax incentives they never knew were there and how to be creative in incentivising their key staff to perform and, increasingly, stay with them.”
Mr Barr, who was appointed to his role last month, added Financial Expert is a direct response to these concerns and will give manufacturers previously unavailable access to industry-leading advice and guidance on overcoming these barriers.
“The sessions will be carried out in small groups, with the chance to share experiences and learn from like-minded directors. Afterwards, there will be the chance for further one-on-one support to focus on the initial issues identified in a confidential environment,” he said.
The workshops have been specially created to evolve with industry requirements and will cover a broad range of subjects from ‘Kickstart’ funding and R&D tax credits, to auto enrolment and employee incentive schemes.
There will also be a significant focus on succession planning, with many English manufacturing SME’s facing up to the prospect of life after the retirement of their current management team.
The first workshop will be held in Bristol in January, followed by regional events in Southampton, Thames Valley, Liverpool, Kent and the East Midlands, with each session restricted to 25 companies on a first come, first served basis.