SHEFFIELD manufacturers can seed a new industrial revolution if they rediscover the vision of the steel entrepreneurs of old,
Juergen Maier, chief executive of Siemens UK, said business conditions were better than they had been for decades. But bosses had to take the ‘next step’ and be bolder and export, invest, innovate and educate for the long term.
The 379th Cutlers’ Feast was held at the opulent Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield last night. The white tie event, billed as the most important business dinner north of London, was attended by hundreds of politicians and representatives from industry, the civil service, the military, City of London livery companies and freemen of the Company of Cutlers.
Mr Maier, the principal guest, questioned whether firms were ‘global enough’ in their thinking, after hearing complaints about EU regulations.
He added: “You can’t be part of the EU or global trading without significant regulation. So isn’t it better to lead on defining that regulation, rather than leave it up to someone else?”
A 2012 survey showed 94 per cent of companies didn’t export, he added.
“Is that the level of ambition we want? And are we investing enough in skills and innovation to change that?
“We at Siemens are great advocates of skills – like the University Technical College here in Sheffield which we are supporting and the 500 apprentices that we have in training up and down the country.”