Radio Design Supports Local Business Development Initiative, and Features in Despatches…

Business support tool to help SMEs and boost investment

The Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has today launched a new online tool to help businesses find the resources they need to grow and develop. The LEP has developed its Business and Investment Portal in response to feedback from businesses on the difficulties of finding information about local business support.

The Portal has been produced primarily to help SMEs, and provides comprehensive information on topics such as international trade, recruiting and training staff, obtaining finance and public sector contracts. It also offers a platform to support the LEP’s ambitions of attracting more investment into the region, and an opportunity to communicate more effectively with businesses on the LEP’s activities.

Chair of the Leeds City Region LEP, Neil McLean, commented: “Every time we talk to businesses – especially SMEs – about business support, they tell us how difficult it is to find information about local support provision. With this new online tool, the LEP has taken steps to fill this gap and provide information on a whole range of business support in one place. We will be doing further work to develop the portal, and would very much welcome feedback from businesses in the City Region on how we can make it even more useful for them.”

Eric Hawthorn, Managing Director of Radio Design – an award-winning electronics manufacturer, based in Shipley – and a member of the LEP’s Business Innovation and Growth Panel, added: “For smaller businesses and start-ups, external support can make a real difference to survival and future success. This new portal will be the ideal starting point for anyone looking to develop or grow a business in the City Region. I certainly wish this kind of tool had been available when I started my business five years ago.”

The LEP’s Business and Investment portal can be found at:

YORKSHIRE businesses should not be fearful of setting up operations in China but should be realistic about the timeframe and steps needed to make the move a success. That was the advice given at a seminar entitled ‘Setting up in business in China’ and hosted by law firm Pinsent Masons. Specialist lawyers based in the firm’s offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong gave advice to delegates in Leeds, through a live video link, how to best go about launching in China.

And Eric Hawthorn, managing director of Shipley-based wireless infrastructure business Radio Design, told delegates how his business had opened an operation in China to capitalise on the company’s expansion plans. Mr Hawthorn warned delegates planning to establish bases in China that the process could be a frustrating one. He said it had taken Radio Design more than six months to set up after encountering delays over issues such as VAT registration.

He also advised UK companies to post representatives in China on a permanent basis when launching operations to ensure complications were kept to a minimum. But he said setting up a base in China had moved away from accessing cheap manufacturing labour to taking advantage of growing consumer needs in the country.

The event was chaired by Pinsent Masons partner Alison Starr and Giles Blackburne of the China-Britain Business Council.

Manufacturing Future is Focus of New Campaign

Bradford’s Year of Manufacturing campaign kicked off by bringing together manufacturers and agencies that can provide them with specialist support – and help open up more opportunities for local suppliers to the district’s producers. The event marked the start of a big push to highlight and boost Bradford’s manufacturing sector, which provides one-fifth of local economic output.

It is hoped that collaboration between Bradford Council, Bradford Chamber of Commerce, Bradford and Airedale Manufacturing Alliance, the University of Bradford and the Advanced Digital Institute in Saltaire will lead to the establishment of a new Centre for Manufacturing Excellence in the city to provide a hub for technological innovation, inward investment and knowledge sharing. Stephen Wright, Bradford Chamber of Commerce president, said: “The Year of Manufacturing will provide a catalyst for raising the sector’s profile and will hopefully help to create jobs by developing the supply chain xo that more local firms are able to win business with manufacturers.

“It’s 18 months since we launched the Bradford and Airedale Manufacturing Alliance and it was felt that a series of events and activities would focus the spotlight on the sector across the district with the aim of providing useful networking opportunities and practical support to companies. We need to do more to make manufacturing in Bradford even stronger. “While local manufacturers overall are doing okay in the current climate, we believe that the programme we are planning will help more firms succeed and boost the district’s economy. “We’ve joined with Bradford Council’s Rising Stars enterprise programme to stage this launch event, including an exhibition of organisations that can provide advice and support to manufacturers. If this leads to the creation of a Centre for Manufacturing Excellence, it will be a big leap forward and provide a lasting legacy for local manufacturers.”

The event featured a Question Time session with panelists including Simon Malins, purchasing project manager for BorgWarner Turbo Systems; Eric Hawthorn, managing director of Radio Design; Zab Chughtai, director of Anzeck Plastics Ltd and Sohan Panesar managing director PEC Building & Shopfitting Ltd.

Eric Hawthorn launched Shipley-based Radio Design Ltd, five years ago and the firm had grown turnover to £25 million after launching a universal combiner unit, which enables up to three mobile phone operators to lower network costs by sharing antenna equipment without losing performance. Radio Design’s suppliers included companies in Otley and Keighley.