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    Event Review: SMMT SME Support Roadshow, 5 March 2014

    Wednesday 5 March saw the return of the SMMT’s SME Support Roadshow for the North West, which was a joint event between SMMT, NAA and Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub. The event included presentations from the SMMT, NAA, BIS, UKTI, Industry Forum, Greater Manchester Growth Hub, MAS and Access to Finance to raise awareness of the various funding streams available to SMEs (not just automotive related) throughout the North West.

    Questions that we often hear from our SME members include “what funding is out there?” and “how do we really access funding?”. Therefore this event was designed to break down the barriers to accessing funding for SMEs within the automotive supply chain and to create a direct link into the organisations who can and will support those businesses, making the funding journey accessible and fitting to individual business needs.

    50 senior business delegates attended the event from all over the North West region, representing a diverse mix of automotive-related SME companies – predominantly component manufacturers wishing to take advantage of support available, and wanting a better appreciation of the most suitable funding.

    The presentations were informative and the case studies brought a sense of reality to the funding pots available, giving attendees a flavour of what can be achieved and how.

    Carol Holden provided an excellent overview of Performance Springs in Lytham and their growth story linked into funding they have accessed and the outcomes from these activities – again showing other SME representatives the real value of such projects to each business and how funding has assisted Performance Springs in becoming a business with a turnover of £3 million, and rising.

    It is still clear that SMEs will continue to require ongoing support in accessing the correct funding streams for their businesses, to retain competitive edge, sustainability and R&D. If proactive, there is a plethora of funding available to those companies, and the NAA and the other supporting organisations can and will offer as much guidance and support needed to make the access to funding a simple and effective route, rather than a complex and time consuming process.

    “SMMT is committed to supporting automotive SMEs in all regions of the UK and our Roadshow series demonstrates the breadth of companies we work with. It was fantastic to engage with so many SMEs at the North West event and we look forward to continuing our work with the NAA on events such as these in the future.” – Tim Hughes, SMMT Membership Account Manager.

    Frank Power, Director at Simmal UK (NAA and Business Excellence Member) commented “What struck me was the degree of optimism in the room. As a supplier of aluminium extrusions across all market sectors it is refreshing to see this and see it so evident in the automotive sector. There are good opportunities ahead for all of us”.

    The event also opened the Business Excellence door to at least two new members, taking the membership numbers even closer to the target of 133!

    If you wish to find out any further information in relation to funding please contact Amanda Holmes

    For more information visit

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham