METALL LAUNCHES WITH A SELL-OUT FIRST EVENT Chris Coopey, Head of the Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology Group at Carpenter Box, reports on the first meeting of the Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology Alliance (METALL) held at Roffey Park near Horsham.
because resource is tight and money is
particularly grant funding is not always well
tighter. There are advantages to being small.
signposted and sometimes the application
Smaller businesses can make decisions more
process may not appear to be worth the effort.
within the Gatwick Diamond) joined my
quickly and take advantage of opportunities
In a straw poll of the businesses attending
colleagues and I from Carpenter Box, together
without having to jump through the hoops
METALL, many had not previously heard of
with fellow sponsors asb law and CBSbutler for
that big corporates often have to do. One of
Innovate UK nor the help it was able to offer in
the first METALL event.
the points made by Robert Pearson is that by
both funding and advice terms. Zoe Webster’s
collaborating, small businesses with big ideas
presentation shone a light on some of the
‘Innovation’ and the keynote speakers, Dr
can achieve amazing results around innovation.
options, but in the Q&A session afterwards
Robert Pearson of Cobham Antennas and
Of course there are practical worries when
other organisations such as Coast to Capital
Dr Zoe Webster of Innovate UK, each did a
smaller businesses collaborate with larger
also talked about the various funding options
fantastic job of explaining what innovation
ones. There are concerns around the ownership
they could offer. We will gather together as
looks like, how it can be achieved and how
of intellectual property and who ultimately will
many threads as we can in relation to all of
it can be funded. There were a number of
benefit the most. These are best dealt with
the help available and make sure it sits in
takeaways from the session:
by making strong relationships, developing
the resource area of the www.metall.org.uk
trust and by buttoning down expectations as
n July, over 30 manufacturing, engineering and technology businesses (who between them employ over 5,000 skilled personnel
The subject for the inaugural meeting was
Passion Innovation is born of passion. Passion to solve a problem and provide a solution can drive a project from concept to realisation and
much as possible at the outset in a clear and transparent written agreement. Collaboration starts by conversation, which
when harnessed effectively, it can become a
is why joining all of the elements together
massive and unstoppable force. We English
was such an important aim for METALL. These
are not known for our fondness of the word
elements include the businesses themselves,
‘passion’, but our place as one of the most
those who can help fund them and those that
innovative nations shows that we have it tucked
can give the practical and academic help to
away somewhere in our psyche!
take innovation forward.
We used to be seen as a nation of small
Researching and developing innovative ideas
shopkeepers. That may not now be the case but
takes money and all too often businesses are
we are certainly a nation of small businesses.
not well equipped to understand their various
Sometimes that mitigates against innovation,
options. It’s also fair to say that funding,
The subtext to this first METALL meeting was of course around the possible effects of Brexit and the challenges it will pose. Consensus in the room was that it is far too early to predict how our departure from the EU will affect the sector, but there were obvious concerns around currency fluctuation, possible trade tariffs and the difficulty of finding skilled and motivated staff if restrictions on recruitment from overseas becomes a reality.
I’m pleased to say that METALL is already forming into a community and that a LinkedIn group has been established to carry on the conversation. For more on METALL check out www.metall.org.uk
Published on Jul 20, 2016
Published on Jul 20, 2016
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