Businesses urged to seek help to plan for post-Brexit

Thursday 25th of April 2019 09:47 AM

Companies in Coventry and Warwickshire have been urged to follow in the footsteps of an innovative automotive engineering firm and contact one of the “most joined-up areas of the UK” to help with their business planning amid Brexit uncertainty.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub has been working alongside the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council to help businesses plan for the future and post-Brexit when the deadline expires on October 31.

One of the businesses helped by the Growth Hub throughout Brexit over the last three years has been MarchantCain, who moved from the Old Saw Mill in Allesley to Banner Park in Wickmans Drive, Coventry, in January.

MarchantCain, who design, develop and manufacture parts for luxury car companies including Aston Martin, Porsche and Bentley, is pitching for business with HS2 after taking advice from Growth Hub account manager Phil Peak.

Pamela Cain, a director at MarchantCain, said the Growth Hub’s support has given them impetus to look for new markets and move premises.

“Since we had completed work for Prologis, Phil suggested we pitch to HS2 because they will need acoustic barriers in sensitive areas and we have experience in this area,” she said.

“We are now talking seriously to HS2 about supplying acoustic barriers and bridge enhancements. Developments from this bid could also generate an entire new company set-up for which we will definitely be asking for the LEP’s assistance.

“The Growth Hub helped us to look for two years to find a new home and knew exactly what we needed and recommended a removal company, David Gilkes & Sons in Rugby, who were brilliant and that kind of advice is invaluable.

“Like everyone else, Brexit is causing us uncertainty and we have put some plans on hold. We were looking to expand into Germany but we don’t know how Brexit would affect us so we are not pursuing it at the moment.

“The Growth Hub is on our side and if we want to do anything new, we speak to Phil and he signposts us in the right direction.”

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said their work with companies like MarchantCain highlighted the success of the partnership approach in the area.

He said: “All the anecdotal evidence shows that Coventry and Warwickshire is one of the most joined-up areas in the UK because of the success of our partnership working in helping businesses in all sectors to expand as well as attract inward investment.

“There are various levels of preparation that we are seeing from SMEs. Most of them have said they don’t know what they are preparing for because it is impossible to plan for something that has not been determined.

“We are working in partnership with all local authorities and other institutions throughout Coventry and Warwickshire which emphasises that we are one of the most connected areas in the UK.

“The core messages are that there is still a lot of uncertainty and along with cash flow and recruitment these are the three areas concerning SME companies.”

Sean Farnell, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) SME Business Group and board director at the CWLEP, added: “We shouldn’t lose sight of the massive impact Brexit is going to have on the SME community and it is fantastic to hear that local stakeholders are continuing to work together to help innovative businesses such as MarchantCain.

“Once again, the partnership working of business support services in Coventry and Warwickshire is evident as we bid to help businesses prosper post-Brexit – whenever that may be!”