The Materials Processing Institute has partnered with leading steel manufacturers, Teesside University and Tees Valley Combined Authority to promote and support SMEs operating across the region.

The Middlesbrough-based research and innovation centre hosted a Business Supplier Exhibition, attended by 15 businesses and individuals assisted through the Innovate Tees Valley and Business Compass Start Up programmes, which are both funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The event gave the businesses the opportunity to discuss how they could support the supply chains of the Institute’s commercial stakeholders, which includes British Steel.

Businesses in attendance included Applied Scientific Technologies, William Lane Foundry, Industro Solutions, Lynas Engineers and Pollywood, which have been working in partnership with the Institute’s SME Technology Centre that manages the innovation programmes with partners.

The Materials Processing Institute is recognised globally for delivering research and innovation projects and its SME Technology Centre provides open access technical and commercial support to businesses, from pre-starts to SMEs, across all sectors looking to innovate by developing, commercialising and improving their processes, products and services.

Paul Taylor, SME Programme Manager at the Materials Processing Institute, said: “This was the first event of its kind organised by the Institute and it was good to bring together a wide range of SMEs that have the potential to complement one another, collaborate and share innovation to benefit the wider industry. These companies are the lifeblood of the local economy, so it is vital to support their endeavours through initiatives like the supplier exhibition and the wider support we provide through our SME Technology Centre.

“We have enjoyed a longstanding partnership with British Steel and it was the ideal opportunity for them to learn more about the Institute’s work with SMEs and start-ups. We believe these businesses have a lot to offer that could potentially support British Steel’s operations in the UK and internationally.”

John Dale, Technical Director at British Steel, said: “We found the exhibition a good forum to bring industry together along with the SMEs the Materials Processing Institute is working with. It allows us to further understand the collaborative innovation available to benefit our industry. It is important to raise the awareness of up and coming enterprises in the region, which are putting forward new ideas and innovative solutions, and to understand how they can benefit ours and other sectors.”