03 December 2014
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is calling on the Government to do more to build awareness of schemes to support manufacturing businesses among small and medium enterprises (SMEs). For example, 50% of SMEs are unaware of government reforms to apprenticeship schemes, while 56% do not know about the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS).
The IET held a breakfast meeting with MPs this morning, ahead of the Autumn Statement to highlight the issue to Government.
Margaret Wood, who runs a small manufacturing business is one of the IET members leading the call. She said: “There is a plethora of schemes out there to help manufacturers grow their business, but many smaller businesses like mine are simply not aware of them.
“The temptation is to keep launching new schemes, when in reality it would be better to put this effort into marketing and promoting the schemes already out there.
“Similarly, renaming schemes is unhelpful as it means these schemes don’t become an established brand that SMEs recognise. SMEs are also unlikely to benefit from manufacturing schemes that offer short-term solutions as they need long term strategies and a consistent business environment in order to survive.”
Practical ways in which the government could help that were highlighted at the breakfast include:
Sahar Danesh, IET Principal Policy Advisor for Manufacturing, said: “SMEs are responsible for about 90 percent of the UK’s innovation so the Chancellor’s announcement this morning of renewed financial support for SMEs is very welcome. But it’s also crucial they receive the right business support.
“We need a clear business strategy on how to engage SMEs, making sure funding put into marketing support schemes effectively. At a time when manufacturing is coming into its own, it’s crucial to support SMEs so that they can improve their productivity.”