Telling the truth about SME life today

Lessons from Michelmersh Brick and Tile Company

Michelmersh Brick and Tile Company focuses on quality and the value that people place in handmade goods. It really does have a fantastic product.

During the day, I learnt about the practicalities of brick making and how future changes in energy policies could take account of the needs of the construction industry. I was also surprised to learn how many countries Michelmersh is already exporting to. It just shows you don’t have to be big to export.

My day with Michelmersh has completed my week working with small firms, and it has been an extremely valuable experience which I have thoroughly enjoyed. All of my work experience days have shown me the challenges that our small firms face on a daily basis. And I have been hugely impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of all the people I have met.

The week has given me great insight into what I can do in government to help create the right environment for these businesses to flourish. Importantly, I also believe it has helped these firms understand the role that government has to play. Hopefully I have reassured them that this government is completely focused on helping small companies.

It is vital that we create the right conditions for growth and break down the barriers between business and government. That is why, in addition to undertaking a week with business myself, I have also encouraged the small business team at my department to take part in the programme. The results have been very positive. More than 90 per cent of enterprise policy officials have visited a total of 123 businesses across the country over the past nine months.

It is great to see government and business interacting in this way and it will help immensely in informing future policy decisions. There is nothing like spending time with a small firm to understand the practical difficulties they face every day.

I am now looking at how I can encourage other ministers and officials from across Whitehall to sign up to the programme. It would be fantastic to see my colleagues spend between one and five days a year with small businesses and I will be telling them about the benefits this programme brings.

It has been such a great experience to learn how different companies do business. I sincerely thank all of them for taking time out of their incredibly busy days to help me understand what they do, and what they need to grow in the future. I hope that I have also conveyed how focused I am on supporting growth across our economy.

Together, we can make this the most enterprising decade in the history of our country.

Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk blogged exclusively for Real Business.


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