The Made in Group held an industrial strategy workshop in 2017 to discuss the main economic pillars. Directors of over 50 Midlands manufacturing and engineering firms met with Lord Mike Whitby and Baroness Lorely Burt, to enable Midlands industry to feed directly into the government’s Industrial Strategy. The workshop, entitled ‘Our Manifesto For Britain’ was led by Lord Mike Whitby in his role as non-executive Chairman of Made in the Midlands and was hosted by Birmingham City University. Addressing attendees at the end of the workshop, Lord Whitby commented: “The Midlands is a formidable exporting region, with a strong skills base that is ultimately responsible for 25% of the UK’s total manufacturing output. What an opportunity we have here, to feed directly into the government’s Industrial Strategy and ensure that the best interests of Midlands manufacturers are heard and considered, regardless of what government are responsible for moving this strategy forward.
A summary of the main concerns is as follows:
1. GLOBAL INVESTMENT
The UK is uniquely for sale in the world. Investment in British created companies needs to keep pace with overseas investment, which will require more robust support for UK companies who want to grow, innovate and acquire.
2. COHERENT ‘BRAND BRITAIN’ PROMOTIONAL MESSAGE
The UK has an awkward relationship with patriotism, we also under value our global reputation. We need a powerful ‘Brand Britain’ message that will resonate and help companies take advantage of the UK’s standing in the world.
One of the criteria of the Made in the Midlands industrial strategy meeting was that at least 3 ideas per discussion must be community actionable, in other words it doesn’t depend on the approval or investment from government.
With unique challenges including BREXIT and global uncertainty Made in is developing its own International Trade Campaign, aimed at increasing the number of people who export and create more links between members who already trade internationally.
To help steer the direction of the campaign, Made in the Midlands created a high level advisory board to help shape a private sector initiative to engage and grow international opportunities.
All members of Made in the Midlands and Made in Yorkshire will be surveyed so that we can include which countries they import from and export to, this will be accessible on the Made in London online directory named, ‘Britain to the World’ primarily it is aimed at UK companies and other members who wish to directly connect with a supplier or customer who already trades internationally. This could be useful if for example you have an enquiry or opportunity in Brazil but do not have knowledge of that market, the Britain to the world directory helps you directly connect with a peer who will be willing to help you, either through placing an order via the export/importer or giving advice.
Secondly our international trade panel are in discussions about launching a series of international trade missions that will be privately funded ands available to Made in members. The independent nature of our campaign means we can choose countries and secludes that suit members and the country over and above any bureaucratic bottlenecks.
To learn more about our international trade policy, please email [email protected]