According to the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, SMEs count for nearly half the turnover in the UK private sector, and over half the employment. SMEs clearly make a considerable contribution to the UK economy and have the potential to make a huge impact in post-Brexit Britain, but they are often pushed out of the media limelight by large businesses, and their value underestimated. 

SMEs have a nimbleness that larger organisations cannot emulate – with their capacity to adapt, and adapt quickly, in an ever-changing business environment, SMEs can be much more reactive, rather than having to drag a slow and cumbersome behemoth behind them.  If you are heading up an SME, the fact that you have probably always been operating without the support of a big team or the comfort of the financial cushion larger companies may enjoy, is already evidence of your ability to move with the market – and it is this pragmatic flexibility that may put SMEs at the front of the post-Brexit economy.

Patrick Chaney, Managing Director of Disposable Medical Instruments (DMI), has been preparing his company for the possibility of leaving the EU since the subject first came to the public’s attention:

“I co-own a flourishing SME, operating from a UK facility and providing direct employment for local people as well as supporting the success of many other suppliers and service providers.  We source, design and put together sterile packs of disposable medical instruments for the wider healthcare market, and are very proactive in promoting the company, exploring new markets, and keeping up to date about any developments that could help us take the business even further.  We have invested heavily in resources, including an on-site sterilising chamber and a cleanroom, and are committed to building a business with a long-term future.    

“Since we launched ten years ago, we have built a strong European client base, exporting across the continent with the same ease we service the UK market.  When the notion of leaving the EU began to become a possibility, we immediately started making the company ‘Brexit-proof’, making sure we offered a very specialised service that customers would struggle to find anywhere else - we worked hard to gain ISO 13485:2003 and EN ISO 13485:2012, and full SGS certification for third party cleanroom packing and EtO sterilisation, meaning that in addition to being certified for the design and packing of sterile customised procedure packs containing single-use surgical instruments and consumables, DMI is also certified to carry out subcontract packing. 

“Earlier this year, we also established Disposable Medical Instruments (Ireland) Ltd, which takes cost-effective single-use medical instruments to the wider European market, with all transactions carried out in euros, meaning that whatever restrictions the exit from the EU brings, we are open for business.

“I believe Britain’s SMEs can play a vital role in rebalancing and rebuilding the economy, showcasing the country’s creative and technological skills in the world-class products we create and want to export – we have the skills, experience and flexibility to navigate these choppy economic waters and take us forward into the hopefully calmer seas that lie ahead.”