Two weeks to go until SME Growth Summit 2022

Posted on 2 Nov 2022 by Ashley Oulton

SME Growth Summit 2022 takes place in Liverpool on 16-17 November, where key figures from the SME manufacturing sector will get together to discuss the issues that matter relating to people, product and process. It offers a unique opportunity for manufacturers to develop their growth strategies and network with their peers. Ashley Oulton, Conference Production Manager, reports.

There is cause for cautious optimism as a recent survey by the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) found that the UK’s SME manufacturing sector is seeing growth in output at the fastest pace on record in the three months to July.

SME Growth Summit

However, despite the apparent upturn, manufacturers are still facing difficulties recruiting and retaining skilled labour and sourcing materials and components which is limiting output. They also cite concerns about rising cost and price pressures, supply chain disruptions and the fastest increase in export prices in four years.

SME Growth Summit would like to thank:

  • Co-organiser Autodesk;
  • Knowledge partner Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge;
  • Sponsors Michael Page, Made Smarter, DXC Technology, EDGE Digital Manufacturing, Epicor, ERA Foundation, Innovate UK KTN, Institute for Export & International Trade, and Verve4Growth.

Who will be there?

We’re bringing together senior professionals from across the UK’s SME manufacturing sector including defence, aerospace, automotive, food and drink, FMCG, pharmaceuticals and electronics.

What’s in it for you?

Our interactive conference format revolves around a series of interactive roundtables, enabling you to sit next to your peers and topic experts and have your questions answered first-hand. This isn’t about passively listening to hours of keynotes – you’ll sit down face-to-face with leaders like you to share challenges and collaboratively develop solutions. Troy Barratt, Director at BAMUK, had this to say about the previous SME Growth Summit: “We’re an SME business and it’s a great way for me to learn what large, medium and small companies are doing.

“What I like most about The Manufacturer events is the small-form facilitated discussion groups. After we hear a speaker, attendees sit in groups of around six to eight and have a facilitated discussion around particular topics, and that’s where I get the most practical learning, which I will then take back to my companies and suggest what could be done.”

How does it work?

Each day will consist of two one-hour interactive roundtable discussions sessions where you will have the opportunity to sit down with your peers to discuss the answers to important challenges such as:

  • Talent Attraction and Retention
  • How to make the most of new products and increase your market share
  • Are your people and processes ready to scale?
  • Which financing method is right for your business?
  • Does your reach exceed your grasp?

Choose which Discussion Tables to join for each 60-minute session – enabling you to participate in four different discussions during the course of the two afternoons and have the conversations that matter to you.

Discussion Table topics Include:

  • Building a Sales Engine
  • Building a Digital Transformation Strategy in an Era of Uncertainty.
  • Automation for Productivity
  • Transformation & Growth
  • Talent Attraction and Retention – Are you competitive?
  • Energy Costs, Security and Resilience
  • Opening Up Manufacturing – Diversity and Inclusion for business growth
  • Reimagining Manufacturing Together
  • Net Zero Transition – Is Digitalisation a Helper or Distraction?
  • Industry 4.0 – Making you More Profitable
  • Made Smarter Grant Funding’s Impact on Manufacturing SMEs
  • The Digital Trade Revolution
  • Change Management in Distress

Speakers corner

Confirmed roundtable Discussion Leaders at the event include senior representatives from organisations such as McGeoch Technology, Gripple, Alphasense, G&B Electronics, Koolmill, Unrooted Drinks, Brompton Bycycles, NGF Europe and Starbons.

Katy Davies, CamdenBossKaty Davis, Managing Director at CamdenBoss is keen to engage with her peers around the challenges of people strategy – skills, recruitment and growing their workforce. Katy has been trying to raise awareness for manufacturing to be an option in schools and has invested heavily in apprentices. She is proud to say that they currently have eight percent of their workforce in ‘learn and earn’ type arrangements and they’re looking to grow that.

Doug Knifton, AlphaserveDoug Knifton, Plant Director at Alphasense, has three decades of experience in technology-driven manufacturing companies, spanning a range of industries from semiconductors to complex analytical instruments. The organisations have ranged from start-ups to global corporates and a number in between. The common thread through all these roles has been driving improvement through product, process and people to deliver improved customer satisfaction and organisational value.

Laura McBrownLaura McBrown, Managing Director at G&B Electronics is looking forward to discussing leadership and topics such as overcoming obstacles caused by misunderstanding within the workforce. Laura heads up G&B Electronics, her family business, an electronic manufacturing service provider that specialises in medical devices, aerospace electronics and high end audio products, with her sister Kate. These two women are trailblazing the way that contract manufacturing can be approached by embracing a ‘servitisation’ model and driving productivity up and down the supply chain.

Penny Morton, Koolmill SystemsPenny Morton is a Senior Project Engineer at Koolmill Systems and the founder of DIYWomen. She is looking forward to sharing her experience in talent attraction and retention during the roundtable discussion which is being led by Joe Walton, Director Michael Page Engineering and Manufacturing. Last year Penny was named as a Young Pioneer in The Manufacturer Top 100.

Katrina Ritchie, GrippleKatrina Ritchie, People and Culture Director at Gripple, will be sharing her experience gained from developing a unique people and culture strategy. Including how banning HR at Gripple has empowered managers to lead and take responsibility for their own people, and given the People & Culture team the time and space to execute the people strategy. Katrina has been with Gripple for 19 years, initially working in the export shipping team. She became head of the new people and culture department five years ago for her inherent understanding of the Gripple values-driven culture, with people at the core of all she does.

Amber Numamoto, Unrooted DrinksAmber Numamato, Head of Operations and Sustainability at Unrooted Drinks, will be sharing her experience in leading small businesses from various phases of their growth to the next big step, whether that be in new product development, automation, expanding production, B-corp certification, revenue growth or new routes to market. Unrooted is a functional shots brand using the sustainably sourced African baobab fruit in its products.


*Tickets are for manufacturers only.

SME Growth Summit is for all senior professionals responsible for people, platform and process and for those looking to bring in new ideas into their business model. Find out more.