A Quick Pause For Thought
It’s not often I stop and look back on what’s gone by but the festive season usually provides enough time to do just that. It also provides me with enough clarity of mind to plan ahead for the coming year.
In February, Mirus will celebrate its fourth birthday. Something of a milestone considering the percentage of start ups that fail inside the first two years.
Our journey, perhaps contrary to popular belief, has not been easy or conventional.
When I made the decision to base Mirus in the U.K I had a great deal of optimism that there would be several mechanisms of support for new businesses, especially ones that are based in the manufacturing sector and one that had a significant, export contract that ran for several years with a supply chain distribution that is almost 90% based in the UK, in an industry that is growing robustly.
The hardest part, which I (naively) thought was finding a customer, was accomplished, so surely the doors of financial support would open up and it would be a matter of choice. Unfortunately I was very wrong and thus what has turned out to be the hardest part of our journey began.
We have, since 2015, knocked on a lot of financial doors in the U.K. I have met some great people in the commercial finance sector, people who seemed genuinely impressed with our achievements and our business plans but whose credit teams ultimately ran away at the thought of supporting a start up company albeit with a multi-million pound order book.
What concerns me most about the numerous knock-backs and rejections we’ve had is that there seems to be no infrastructure in the U.K that can foster the next great U.K companies. Nothing that can help an ordinary person build a business from a great idea without the need to immediately sell out to wealthy individuals or organisations. Money is the absolute lifeblood of new companies and new businesses surely shouldn’t be the domain of the rich and powerful only?
Two special mentions and exceptions are the South Norfolk District Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Without the initial and continued support of these two organisations, we would simply not be in business today.
As we at Mirus continue to invest and believe in the power of the skills and people in the U.K with the opening of our Advanced Manufacturing Center, where we will push the boundaries of structural composite manufacturing to world class levels, it is again our friends at the South Norfolk Council and New Anglia LEP that once again demonstrate the willingness to support in the growth of our company, our region and our country.
I don’t profess to have the answers, but from my own personal experience, I sincerely hope that for the future generations of business starters, dreamers and entrepreneurs that the guardians of U.K PLC quickly recognise and address the significant shortcomings that currently exist.