UK SMEs account for 95 per cent of industry trade body ADS Group

This Saturday is ‘Small Business Saturday’, an American import – the US version takes place on November 7 – it is a retail-led initiative; however, anything that promotes and celebrates the SME community is worth applauding.

The fates and fortunes of the Primes may dominate news agendas however, according to the Federation of Small Businesses, in the UK alone SMEs account for 5.8 million organisations providing more than 60 per cent of private sector employment.

For the UK’s aerospace and defence sectors, smaller businesses represent the bulk of supply chain, so much so that 95 per cent of industry trade body ADS Group’s membership is made up of SMEs.

Looking ahead to 2020, July’s Farnborough International Airshow will assert its biennial presence on the industrial calendar providing SMEs with an important platform for growth, exposure and insight.

Although the Farnborough International Airshow is one of the world’s biggest aerospace events it is a show for the entire supply chain and according to Aerospace Sales Director, Joe Muir, broad SME presence is fundamental to its success.

Prepare early for FIA

His advice to companies preparing for the show is to engage with the team at Farnborough International early so that marketing and PR plans can be supported and amplified; and to define objectives and messages well in advance of the show.

Joe also says: “Exhibition stands demonstrate presence and the fact that a company is open for business but the Airshow is very much a launch-pad for engaging with the wider industry and accessing the global aerospace market.”

In a similar vein, Julie Mears, Farnborough International’s Assistant Director of Delegations and Protocol, highlights Airshow events such as Meet the Buyer as valuable opportunities for SMEs looking to access the right decision makers within Prime organisations.

According to Julie “our research shows that the innovation so determinedly sought after by Primes exists within the SME community. Shows like Farnborough bring the entire supply chain together in one place, for one week, and events like Meet the Buyer translate into valuable opportunities.

“What’s crucial is that in preparing to participate, smaller companies are smart about completing the initial questionnaire. There’s no question that Goliath is looking for David, but David needs a strategic approach to grab his attention.”

The message is clear, ‘Small Business Saturday’ isn’t simply an opportunity to buy artisan coffee from a high street start-up. For SMEs, it’s a moment to start thinking about July 2020 and planning Farnborough International Airshow presence.

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