Today I will be welcoming around 300 manufacturers from across the UK to Made in Britain, Loved by the World - the flagship UK manufacturing event at this year’s International Festival for Business in Liverpool.
The UK manufacturing sector is diverse and dynamic and is proudly flying the flag for Britain around the world. While manufacturing accounts for around 10% of UK output, our sector accounts for nearly half of all exports. As prolific exporters it is clear that our expertise and flair for innovation and design are respected and valued around the globe.
It is easy to understand why. Manufacturers are tireless problem-solvers and solution-makers. Inventiveness is in our DNA and we should be proud of our impressive track record in giving the world life-changing products and designs.
A wealth of opportunity lies ahead – we are on the cusp of a global, technology-driven 4th industrial revolution (4IR). Technological advances will play to Britain’s strength and cement our position as a high value manufacturer. Our ability to produce more bespoke products, deliver more rapid and cheaper prototyping and to collaborate ever-more closely with customers will further enhance our reputation for adding value.
Our conference today is about identifying UK manufacturing’s many attributes and exploring them in greater depth. We will be joined by key note speakers - Lord Price CVO, Secretary of State for Trade and Investment and Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, CBE, DL – and there will be two panel debates looking at trends in global manufacturing and the extent to which the UK is placed to capitalise on them, as well as the UK’s track record on innovation.
Panellists include entrepreneurs Angus Thirlwell of Hotel Chocolat, Jenny Holloway of Fashion Enter and Will Butler-Adams OBE of Brompton Bicycle. They will be joined by seasoned industrialists, including Dick Elsy of HVMC, Brian Holliday of Siemens and Dermot Sterne of Applied Component Technology.
As a sector constantly striving for improvement we are more used to talking about the things we could do better. Today’s programme is about doing the opposite. It is about recognising the very many things we do exceptionally well and the unique qualities that mean the things we make in Britain are loved by the world.