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The Unsung Heroes of the Economy

Published 07/01/2014 09:11:00

You don’t need me to tell you that the last few years have been tough economically. The UK has been in a recession, inflation has risen, and unemployment figures have not made for great reading. But as we look ahead to 2014 things are slowly beginning to look up. The British Chambers of Commerce has predicted that the UK economy will grow by 2.7% and pass its pre-recession peak of 2008.

And whilst this is great news for businesses, who will end up getting the credit? I’m sure the politicians will try to claim most of the credit for the recovery (and I’ll leave it up to you to decide how much you think they have helped). And currently everyone is talking again about “industry and/or manufacturing” as the key driver. But who are these businesses? The first thought will be on the big industrial companies run by the big boys in city, who are so far removed from all of us that they need marketing research to find out what their clients need.

Whilst these areas will get the praise and the press attention, we wanted to highlight an often overlooked sector of the economy which deserves its praise and moment in the spotlight. Light Industry. In other words - what about “Small Industrial”?

These small firms are producing key items which we all use every day – from clothing, to electronics, furniture, car repairs, stone masons, and so on. And generally speaking, they don’t attract the same level of attention which the larger heavy industrial companies receive. Yet very often these businesses are also the suppliers to the big boys.

There are two important aspects to keep in mind when looking at these “Small Industrial” Businesses. Firstly the number of all these business is big, perhaps much bigger than you realise, and collectively they employ lots of people. Secondly the owners are much closer to their clients and thus more important to deliver steady growth and innovation - these business people and entrepreneurs are in constant communication with their clients and can thus deliver what their clients actually need.

So we wanted to take this opportunity to praise their contribution to the economic recovery, and to hope they continue to grow and be as important in 2014.

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