Here we are, approaching the end of another year in the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Generally business is buoyant with some great success stories to be found. And what’s encouraging is that these successes come from a diverse range of companies.

Many of the almost 200 businesses with whom we engage directly are becoming innovators, identifying the need to explore new sectors and in some cases, international markets. By thinking outside of the box and branching out with the services they offer and sectors they supply to, they are laying the perfect foundation for continuous growth and success.

One question that is frequently asked is in regard to the impact of Brexit on local businesses, and to be frank the answer is that we’ll just have to wait and see, as until the deal is done anything could change.

It’s undeniable that the weak pound has had two interestingly different outcomes. The first is that the UK has become more attractive to overseas markets as we are better value, but conversely this has had a detrimental effect on anything we buy in by way of raw materials or components. These have now become more expensive to source and therefore have an effect on our end costs and profitability.

What is absolutely clear is that we need to ensure the continued external support for our businesses and this is one of CDEMN’s core priorities. We put people in contact with the right type of support to help their business prosper. The recent MHA manufacturing survey which we discussed at an annual roundtable with our affiliates Tait Walker and Lloyds Bank, highlighted the need for businesses to make full use of the type of support we offer to support their growth.

Some of our businesses really are seeing the benefits of these relationships with significant investment for growth from the Finance Durham fund, managed by Maven Capital Partners. So far we have seen investment in SDS, an innovative company based in Consett who deliver energy solutions, and Seaham-based Moralbox, who provide digital solutions to manage employees’ personal development and training.

Of course, these investments are just the tip of the iceberg and we will be keeping you updated as more of our members benefit from this fund.

We have had incredible success this year and will continue to adapt to ensure the support we offer our members is to the benefit of not just them but the wider engineering and manufacturing sectors.

I believe our biggest strength as a support organisation is that we listen and offer advice, assistance and themed events that our members need and want, not what we believe they need and want.

So, as we turn our attention to 2018, let’s build on the success of the past year and look to make the next 12 months even more prosperous and exciting for the engineering and manufacturing communities here in County Durham.

Finally, from the team at CDEMN may we take this opportunity to extend our best wishes for Christmas and hope you all have a very happy New Year!

Seasons greetings.