Plenty of thought leadership with STC’s latest members

Silverstone Technology Cluster

11th March 2020

Specialising in composite materials, redefining corporate social responsibility and expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) are among the skills of three businesses that have just helped take the STC’s membership to 120.

Bamd, in Upper Heyford near Oxford, employs 15 people and has worked in composites – the art of combining two or more materials – for over ten years.

Industries it has designed and manufactured composites for include automotive (hypercar projects with major marques), defence (drone weaponry) and motorsport (from F1 to sportscars and rallying) – plus furniture (luxury bar stools which has meant at least one off-shoot business)!

Another off-shoot has recently come about because of Bamd’s work with ‘natural fibre’ composites. These use more natural ‘flax’ fibres in bodywork to further reduce the carbon footprint in the build of electric vehicles.

“We have been developing and manufacturing with natural fibres for over six years and that has led to us being contracted to manufacture components for UK built FIA GT4 machinery as well as explore its uses in lightweight electric vehicles,” explained Composites Director Sam Hudson.

“What we like about the STC is that it feels much more collaborative and about attracting like-minded businesses than other organisation we’ve been members of…

“The businesses are all very relevant, they place quality over quantity with their events and there’s some great insider knowledge. We’re already exploring some possibilities with fellow members…”

CSR Accreditation in High Wycombe is an independent accreditation body for corporate social responsibility which chiefly focuses on four key areas for businesses:

  • Environment (recycling)
  • Workplace (employment welfare)
  • Community (involvement in)
  • Philanthropy (supporting causes)

As its Communications Director Paul Roberts explained, CSR Accreditation is eager to work with the STC’s core membership – technology-based businesses.

“You could say that some clients – such as professional services businesses – are a shoe-in for what we do, but corporate social responsibility isn’t something that yet seems to have got the buy-in of smaller engineering companies,” said Paul.

“The difference in engagement can be sector specific; perhaps even generational – we are still finding out when it comes to engineering.

“Certainly younger people are more open to CSR and see it more as a natural part of the business world whereas over-60s can tend to be unwilling to engage with it until they receive in-depth explanation of the benefits.

“The STC is the ideal environment for us being able to reach engineering companies – a new audience for us – and we would like to hold workshops and seminars.”

Richard Foster-Fletcher of NeuralPath.io, based in Milton Keynes, delivers key note speeches on the ethics of artificial intelligence.

Having worked with Oracle “at the heat of the AI fire” he said: “I’m asking businesses to contemplate all aspects of working with such powerful technology – how do they want to use it and what are the implications?

“AI is a technology that can radically change business strategy and impact on the world. One of the bright sides is that it can reduce barriers to business but a downside is that it can be used for ill means.” Furthermore, Richard is one of the founders of MKAI (Milton Keynes Artificial Intelligence) which holds monthly sessions.

“I realised there are around 2,500 people across ‘greater MK’ who would enjoy the types of conversations we have and typically we have 150 people at each session.

“We want to connect our community with the STC community – the collective brainpower of that group is enormous.

“Connecting more types of technology in the area could, I believe, attract the likes of Google or Microsoft to the region. We are very keen to make an impact that encourages enterprises to build the tech community here.”

 

 

 

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