How can the High Value Manufacturing Catapult help your business?

David Riches, Executive Director, Commercial, Trade and Marketing, British Chambers of Commerce

The UK has always had a proud manufacturing tradition, and to this day it remains a focal part of the economy, creating jobs and driving growth across the economy.

Manufacturers are strongly represented across the Chamber of Commerce Network, playing a key role as members in helping Chambers to improve and support local business communities. The Chambers represent companies in every corner of the UK and have the privilege of working with some of the most innovative and progressive companies in their fields.

It’s easy to be impressed by some of the exciting and progressive projects taking place by UK manufacturers right now. There are many more who constantly seeking the most efficient ways to turn their great ideas into great products.

Understandably, as the UK embarks on its departure from the EU, these are uncertain and challenging times for companies of all sizes and sectors, and for many manufacturers there are numerous challenges and opportunities ahead. The nature of their businesses, including complex supply chains, just-in-time delivery models and tendency to be internationally active, pose a number of questions about the future.

UK manufacturers also face competition from emerging markets, potential disruption in access to current customers and suppliers, and the increasing drumbeat of protectionism in a number of key countries around the world.

This level of uncertainty can cause some firms to put the brake on investment and planning decisions. But in reality, this is exactly the right time for businesses to go for growth. Times of turbulence and change are apt moments for firms to broaden their horizons and enter the innovation game.

The issue for many businesses looking to do just that is they don’t know where to begin. That’s where the resources and support of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult come in. Businesses daunted by the idea of harnessing new technologies, taking risks and investing in change, can get the support they need. Their centres help to bridge the gap for businesses between concept and commercialisation.

So much attention and resource has been spent on the Brexit dramas of the last two and a half years, but regardless of how the UK’s departure from the EU plays out, it’s critical that we have the best possible environment here in the UK. Creating the right business conditions to support firms to grow and reach their potential will play just as important a role, if not more, in driving economic growth in the future.

Now is the time to showcase the quality and reputation of UK manufacturing to the world – and to ensure that today’s manufacturers can flourish in tomorrow’s uncertain world. I hope as many businesses as possible take advantage of the support offered by the Catapult centres – as well as Chambers of Commerce and other partners across the country – to innovate, invest and grow.

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