Manufacturing Growth with the IfM ECS

In January 2015, BGF partnered with the Institute for Manufacturing Education and Consulting Services (IfM ECS) to host the inaugural Manufacturing Growth Roundtable Dinner for chief executives and owner-managers of small- and mid-sized manufacturing businesses. The event, held at Christ’s College, Cambridge, provided an opportunity for guests to discuss their views, experiences or intentions of raising funds to support growth.

Professor Sir Mike Gregory, head of the IfM, welcomed guests to the evening dinner, and spoke of the importance of bringing together Britain’s ambitious entrepreneurs to share ideas, knowledge and contacts. Speaking after the event, he commented, “Our collaboration with the BGF promises to make their ‘patient’ capital approach more widely known and accessible to manufacturing businesses.”

The event was organised by Dr. Karen Smith who leads a team at IfM ECS responsible for supporting small and mid-sized businesses by helping to identify their priorities, develop strategies for the future and build capabilities in key areas. The team provides support through programmes such as PrISMS, which aims to transform the sustainable growth prospects of start-ups and smaller manufacturers in the Eastern region of the UK.

Dr Smith said: “The SME Support Business Unit at IfM ECS is keen to make businesses more aware of the resources and help available to them – and events such as the Manufacturing Growth Series do just that. I am delighted that this joint initiative between IfM ECS and BGF has got off to a flying start.”

The dinner was followed by a roundtable discussion on funding for growth. Ian McKernan, group chief executive of BGF-backed Molecular Products, provided a first-hand account of why the family-run business took the decision to bring on board a minority investor, as well as how the new capital is being used to accelerate growth.

BGF has backed 23 British manufacturing businesses in the past three years, from component engineers in Huddersfield to laser specialists in Glasgow; carpet makers in Kidderminster to packaging experts in Tonbridge – and more. Mark Bryant, head of manufacturing at BGF said about BGF’s work with the IfM ECS: “BGF shares with the IfM the goal of supporting sustainable growth in British manufacturing, and helping build the bigger businesses of tomorrow. As such, we are delighted to have been part of the inaugural Manufacturing Growth Dinner, and look forward to meeting more entrepreneurs and owner managers through our work with the IfM ECS.”