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West Midlands SME Dinner 2012
Stewart Towe – the group managing director of Smethwick based Hadley Industries PLC – last night advised an audience of West Midlands SME leaders that now is the time for businesses to grasp the mantle and get involved in the world of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) if they want to help shape local and national government policy so that it’s right for and - more importantly - directly benefits them. Stewart was addressing the Odgers Interim Annual West Midlands SME Dinner which this year took place at The Hippodrome in Birmingham and was entitled “West Midlands: A powerhouse for advanced engineering”.
Stewart told the assembled audience that LEPs offer a unique opportunity for all businesses to have an input into policy that will help shape the corporate agenda for years to come. He reiterated the fact that the onus was on business leaders to take the lead and share their views as the long term success of the entire West Midlands region could well be influenced by how engaged and vocal the business community is.
He also shared his thoughts on the six main areas of business where local organisations can have the biggest influence which are: education & skills, planning & land use, transport & infrastructure, business support, business finance and international trade including export & overseas development.
Stewart said: “We all know the market is tough for many sectors and organisations; from SMEs to large multi nationals like us. However, at the same time, never have local and national government been more open to the ideas of - and input from - the wider business community. I firmly believe that now is the time for companies to become engaged with LEPs and actually have their say in how they want policy and legislation to evolve.
Stewart added: There’s no point sitting in an office or factory commenting on the obstacles and challenges that we all face if you don’t proactively share your views. LEPs offer a unique opportunity to do just that and I firmly believe the most focussed, forward thinking and successful businesses will be the ones who speak out and engage”.
Established in 1964, Hadley Industries PLC is a privately owned multi-million pound company that currently employs around 450 people. It is the largest British owned producer of cold rolled sections and allied products and operates from purpose built premises in the United Kingdom, Dubai, Germany and Thailand,
The company supplies many types of industries from automotive, construction through to aerospace. Advanced computer aided design technology is used in the development and production of a wide range of products setting high standards of performance and reliability. It is the company’s internationally patented UltraSTEEL™ process that has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation. A product that has revolutionised the production of steel section components used primarily in the construction industry.
The event was co-hosted by international accountancy and professional services firm Mazars. Nick Johnson, a partner in the Birmingham office of Mazars, shared his views on the importance of the manufacturing and engineering sectors to both the region and the wider UK economy and why we should be celebrating the positive news stories like those created by Stewart and The Hadley Group.
Nick commented: “Mazars is very much an international business with a local approach. We are immensely proud of our business in the Midlands. We are delighted to co-host the event because it brings together so many important elements for us - the importance and quality of engineering and manufacturing in the Midlands, the quality of the SME sector in the region and a great advocate in Stewart Towe for all that's good in business.”
Sarah Longbottom, head of Odgers Interim SME (West Midlands), said; “The Hadley Group is one of the West Midland’s biggest manufacturing success stories so having Stewart as our key note speaker was fantastic. His practical insight into how LEPs work and why SME’s should get involved in them was invaluable. We could see the audience were incredibly inspired by his words as they realised both the influence and impact they themselves could have in shaping their own futures.”