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    NAA Update: More important dates for your diary – including the 2014 NAA Annual Awards Dinner

    I am sitting writing this with the sun pouring into the window and it helps everyone feel more positive and motivated; which is exactly where we should be compared to five years ago.

    The statistics in the industry continue to grow and impress.  Recently I have been quite surprised by the number of people who are not connected to the industry saying what a good news story automotive is nowadays; however the work is not all complete.  There are lots of opportunities, but there is a long way to go before we get a positive balance of payments for the industry.  It needs everyone to work at getting their company to be world-class.  As we identified at the SMMT Roadshow on 5 March, there is a lot of money out there to support you; your challenge is to work with us and the other agencies to ensure that you maximise the support you can obtain, so that you are in the best possible position to compete with companies around the world.

    I have also realised with the appearance of the sun that we are getting closer to two key events for the NAA in the first half of the year.  Book now for your place on our ‘the Winning Edge is Design’ event at Bentley Motors on 29 April.  For any of you who are SMEs, this is the seminar to attend this year.  Even if you are not an SME and involved in R&D, I suspect that the talks from Bentley Motors and Rolls Royce, as well as the SMEs participating, will challenge you to think about your R&D activity.  It is a joint event between NW Texnet, NW Aerospace Alliance, NAA, the Design Council and Creative Design Lancashire.  There is only room for 80 people at the seminar and places are starting to fill up quite quickly, so please go to our events page and follow the link to registration.

    While you’re in registration mode, please also apply for your place at the Business Excellence event at Chomondeley Pageant of Power – unlike most events there is no late registration, you need to get your forms back to us sooner rather than later as we have to obtain all the tickets and then send them out to you.  Your ticket covers you for the full day, including the evening entertainment, so it really is good value for money.

    Also advance notice for your diaries, the Annual Awards Networking Dinner will be held on Thursday 6 November at the Mere Golf Resort & Spa, Knutsford.  Not only has the venue changed, but there will be several other changes to the format.  Watch out in the next few newsletters for more details on the awards, sponsorships and tickets.

    We will be relocating our server to our IT providers at the end of this month, so please bear with us if we don’t respond immediately to your emails etc as there will be a period when not only will we receive no emails, but neither will there be any out of the office notifications.  I am advised that everything will catch up eventually…

    I have a suspicion that I will be in the photographs for the next newsletter as I go to Buckingham Palace for the investiture for my OBE on 4 April, I will tell you more about it in this article next month!

    Let’s hope that March also goes out like a lamb and the good weather is here to stay!


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