Last Friday, Gary Stevens, our managing director, was delighted to extend a warm welcome on behalf of the company to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who is our local Hastings and Rye Conservative MP.

A visibly active and notably supportive MP, Ms Rudd takes a keen interest in all things local and when she learned about Focus SB’s recent success in achieving accreditation as the first, and only, manufacturer in its industry to be licensed to export products to China, she was delighted to accept an invitation to attend a private factory tour.

Research and development into a new product range for China is just one in a recent string of ongoing major investments made by us under Gary’s leadership since his appointment in January 2016, which have included the purchase of an advanced 3D printer; robot cell; expansion into additional premises and growing the workforce. Our impressive future plans were of considerable interest to Ms Rudd as Focus SB looks set to provide real prospects to resident job seekers in Hastings, which is one of the more deprived coastal towns in Sussex, despite being one of the richest in culture and diversity.

Gary had recently met Ms Rudd in Hastings when she delivered an inspirational speech championing the Disability Confident employer scheme, to which Focus SB is now a signed up member. Once an apprentice himself, Gary has also volunteered to become an Enterprise Adviser in East Sussex to provide mentoring support to educational establishments, aiming to encourage young people to enter employment via apprenticeship schemes. He has already visited Bexhill Academy, receiving a positive response from the students and tutors there.

Gary commented: “When Amber Rudd’s office contacted us to host a meeting, we were honoured and delighted to have appeared on her radar. Our efforts over the past two years are front and centre of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy and as a relatively small SME we have managed to break into the potentially lucrative Chinese market - something that other SMEs need to emulate to enable UK Plc to prosper post Brexit. The visit by Amber today is the icing on the cake and recognition that we are on the right track.”