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Tapping Into the Right Support:  Things Are Different for SME’s

By Leah Rider - SME Lead  - HVMC (NCC Connect) 


The HVM Catapult is an independent research and innovation organisation helping UK manufacturers turn great ideas into commercial realities. This is achieved by providing access to world-class research, development facilities and expertise that would otherwise be out of reach for most businesses in the UK. 99% of all UK manufacturers are registered SMEs, and it is our ambition to help them become more productive and win more business through development of innovative new products, improvements to processes, workforce transformation and more. We pride ourselves on tailoring our service to each individual business and this presentation will show you how.

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Leah joined the National Composites Centre, one of the seven High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVMC) centres in 2014 where she delivered R&D projects for the likes of Airbus and Jaguar Land Rover as a Research Engineer before deciding to specialise in technical programme management.  With a passion for supporting smaller businesses, she was part of the team which founded NCC Connect – The NCC’s dedicated SME support team. Leah was promoted to Head of SME Delivery in early 2021 – and last year the team supported over 200 small, medium and micro businesses across 400 impactful engagements, delivered over 80 R&D projects and secured over £7.5m of funding for the SME community – all whilst maintaining an average customer satisfaction score of 9/10! Leah has now joined the HVMC HQ team to develop and deliver their SME transformation initiative. Working across all seven centres and their regional offices, she is inspiring a shared vision to champion collaborative working, a simplified customer journey and effective internal and external communication of offerings and services to support the UK SME manufacturing community.

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