With the continuing uncertainty besetting all businesses across the country, we need to make sure that we take advantages available to us in the Sheffield City Region and maintain strong links with each other (writes Master Cutler Nick Cragg).
Our manufacturing reputation is at the heart of everything we do and while we are, in some respects, competitors in the market place, we need to be supportive to each other, as the Cutlers’ Company has done over 395 years.
At present we have some 367 Freemen representing 300 manufacturing companies across the Sheffield City Region. The term Freemen is an ancient title which today includes both men and women. Equally, a lady Master Cutler – such as Pam Liversidge in 2011-12, is referred to as The Master because the office has existed for almost 400 years and the Mistress Cutler has a different role.
Originally the Company was open only to those who made a “cutting edge”, but over time has expanded to include all manufacturing, innovation and, more recently, digital companies. This ability to adapt to a changing world is one of the reasons for our continuing success but we also have a reputation for reliability and continuity throughout the year. This month we have two important annual events taking place. The first is the Trade Mission, which will be to the Czech Republic and promises to be one of the best.
Travelling with myself and the Mistress Cutler will be 16 delegates representing 12 companies including Durham Duplex, Torres Pumps, Metlase, Evenort and Lister Paragon as well as the Federation of Small Businesses, the International Trade Forum and the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Trade and Commerce. As with all Cutlers’ Company activities, the Mission made no call on the public purse.
A visit to the Skoda plant is on the agenda, as is a meeting with the Embassy and British Chamber of Commerce Czech Republic and a visit to the International Stainless-Steel Trade Fair at Brno. While there, we will be spreading the word that exporting companies in South Yorkshire are very much open for business and seeking out business partners and new contracts.
The second event, The Cutlers’ Feast, has attracted business people and politicians for hundreds of years. Our principal guest speaker is frequently a Cabinet Minister or a person holding senior Governmental position.
There is enormous potential in this Region with fantastic businesses but collectively we have a far more powerful voice and we do need to continue to build on this aspect.