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Quarterly Business Report - 19th April

On 19th April, Katie Bard hosted, for the last time, the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Business Report at the Birmingham City University Campus. The morning consisted of breakfast, introductions from the Angela Mortimer CEO, John Mortimer, an overview of the manufacturing industry from Professor David Bailey (Aston University) and finally a success story from local entrepreneur Adrian Maxwell, Managing Director of West Midlands based coffee machine manufacturer, Fracino.

                    

John Mortimer opened proceedings suggesting Birmingham was on the verge of a golden age, but still faced traditional engagement challenges presented by the capital city when it came to attracting the country’s best young talent, who typically aim straight for London after graduating from University. He ended informing the attentive audience that more people than ever were choosing self employment and that employers should be making more of an effort to work progressively and invest in their workforce. Click here to read John Mortimer’s Open Letter.

                       


After Stephanie Wall announced the Q1 figures, highlighting manufacturing confidence was on the rise in the West Midlands, David Bailey took to the stage for a whirlwind fifteen minute overview of the manufacturing industry. Bailey proudly announced that manufacturing was thriving in the local area despite experiencing troubles elsewhere regionally. He suggested the government should be taking particular note of President Obama’s manufacturing friendly initiatives and also looking at potential compensation packages with regards to energy costs which were proving a particular problem for SMEs within the industry. Bailey ended with a brief synopsis on why we all should be voting to remain within the EU: noting that access to the single market, skilled workers, research funding and the ability to cut trade deals elsewhere would be significantly impacted on if we do indeed vote to leave.

                    
                                   
Adrian Maxwell closed the presentation section of the morning with the endearing story of his father’s coffee machine manufacturing business, Fracino. Having started off as a young boy helping out his father in the 70s and 80s, Adrian later went through the Rolls Royce apprenticeship scheme which he credited as a vital experience within his professional development. Following on from that he focussed on his business’ approach to the 2008 recession and how they used the crash to prosper by expanding into overseas markets. Utilising the traditionally positive perception around British manufacturing, Fracino were able to capitalise on the weaker pound and export their product into mainland Europe and the Middle East.
                                                                                                                                                                                
The morning ended with a group discussion where members of the audience were invited to answer three industry specific questions. Unsurprisingly this concluded with further discussion regarding Europe, and the general feeling in the room was one of scepticism towards the idea of a vote to Brexit.

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