SMMT Events

Open Forum Digital

SMMT Open Forum Digital

Tuesday 29 September

SMMT Open Forum Digital: Funding and Support was the first in a new digital event series focused on automotive and supply chain issues.

Bringing you the latest from across the automotive manufacturing sector, this digital event focused on sharing the latest updates from across the industry on the issues that matter the most.

Attendees heard from several industry leaders on key developments around Covid-19, the economy and how they affect the supply chains.
The aim was to help companies involved in automotive, especially manufacturers of all sizes, explore what to consider during these unprecedented and increasingly fluid times, and importantly what support is out there to help them, be it through funding, insights or advice and guidance.


Main plenary

Download the slides and recording here

Automotive industry update – Mike Hawes, CEO, SMMT: Automotive industry update from SMMT CEO Mike Hawes, covering key automotive issues including Covid-19, Road to Zero and transition out of the EU.

Economic update and impact on automotive – Andrew Burn, Partner and Head of UK Automotive, KPMG: Economic update covering UK and global economy, trends and trade and how these will impact on UK automotive both now and in the future.

Safe Harbour – Supporting UK suppliers – Mick Aiers, Purchase Manager, PSA Groupe and Yung Tran, Director of Member Services and Business Development, SMMT: Introduction to the SMMT Safe Harbour programme, aimed at supporting suppliers that have been affected by Covid-19.

Member case study – Mike Hague-Morgan, Co-Owner and Commercial Director, Autocraft Solutions Group: A chance to hear from Autocraft Solutions on their journey through 2020, how they have addressed the challenges many suppliers have been faced with, and their plans for making the most of future opportunities.

Breakout sessions

Recapitalisation, investment and funding for growth

  • Geoff Bland, Finance Director, SMMT (Chair)
  • Stephen Pegge, MD Commercial Finance, UK Finance (TBC)
  • Tom Horton, Investor, BGF
  • Paul Brooks, Head of Manufacturing, Automotive & Marine, Santander

The Covid pandemic has had a sharp impact on companies’ finances the world over. To recover as best as possible a creative approach to investment and recapitalisation may be needed. This session will explore some finance and funding options for industry and supply chains to make sure they are well placed to make the most of the upcoming opportunities in automotive.

Download the recording here

Funding innovation and R&D

  • Owain Mortimer, Technology and Innovation Manager, SMMT (chair)
  • Philippa Oldham, Head of National Network Programmes, APC
  • Rachel Chambers, COO, Driving the Electric Revolution Centre North East
  • Jon King, Consultant, WMG

203X and Road to Zero have set challenging targets for the UK automotive sector. Product development in strategic areas is well supported with funding for companies looking to pivot and capitalise. Join this session to find out how companies access the innovation funding to support their customers and capture opportunities this once in a lifetime transition represents?

Download the recording here

Digitalisation and competitiveness building

  • Paul Heard, CEO, Industry Forum (chair)
  • Lynne McGregor, Lead Technologist High Value Manufacturing, UK Research and Innovation
  • Bradley Yorke-Biggs, CEO and Professor of Practice, IDE UK
  • Steve Collins, NMCL Automotive Programme Manager, SMMT.

Competitiveness building is a cornerstone of the automotive sector. The most effective examples of this involve a combination of skill sets and technology. Increasingly these are digitalised. This session will explore funding mechanisms that can help you explore the benefits of these.

Download the recording here

Export opportunities, trade, end of Transition

  • Ruta Aisthorpe, Head of International and Events, SMMT (chair)
  • Phil Potter, Senior Export Finance Manager, UK Export Finance
  • Simon Fisher, Head Automotive Team, DIT,
  • Lloyd Mulkerrins, Policy Manager, SMMT

The UK automotive sector is facing a daunting step into the global trade arena as our position with respect to Europe changes. For some this may mean some there are some questions over what to expect, what markets to explore and how to make the most of the opportunity. Join this session to find out what you can do the get ready to export internationally.

Download the recording here


This networking session will be hosted on a platform called Remo. This unique platform provides attendees with the choice to freely move from table to table facilitating up to six attendees per table. The platform aims to bring the real-life experience of networking into the virtual world.

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