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Major VMC investment for Nuneaton sub-contractor

Posted on 11 Jul 2024. Edited by: John Hunter. Read 318 times.
Major VMC investment for Nuneaton sub-contractorAn engineer who set-up Nuneaton-based MJ Classic Engineering after being left £20,000 in his father’s will is looking forward to a bright future after making a major machine investment. Mario McLaughlin launched MJ Classic Engineering in Slingsby Close on the Attleborough Fields Industrial Estate in Nuneaton. The business specialises in manufacturing bespoke components for the defence, motorsport, and packaging industries, as well as for classic cars.

After speaking to John Fitzgerald from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, he signed up to The Start-up programme which offers one-to-one bespoke business advice and also online and face-to-face workshops that is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Warwickshire County Council.

That led to Mario joining workshops focused on marketing and social media as well as financial planning which gave Mario and Michelle, who joined her husband’s business last September, the confidence to invest £30,000 in a new vertical machining centre (VMC) to expand the company’s capabilities.

He said: “I have always wanted my own tool shop and I have loved working in engineering for the last 30 years. When my father passed away, the money he left me in his will helped me to set the business up with two machines – and no customers! My first customer had a motorcycle he wanted customising, he was very pleased with the result and recommended me to someone else. Word then gradually spread — plus I know a lot of engineers having been in the trade for many years.

“MJ Classic Engineering currently works with household names in the automotive and manufacturing industry and are gaining increasing work from the pharmaceutical sector, including producing tiny camera holders for ears for MND research, and we are producing stainless coffin pins and adjustable stops which hold the coffins in place for two well-known funeral directors and hearse manufacturers.”

Financial planning workshop

He added: “John from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce got in touch to let me know the organisation was looking to help small businesses and mentioned online courses that were available. We bought a CNC lathe a couple of years ago but the older machine we had was too slow to keep up so we were looking at buying a fully automated VMC — attending the financial planning workshop gave us great confidence in buying it and will be instrumental in us moving forward.”

Michelle McLaughlin added: “John has really opened our eyes to how other people view our business on our website and social media. We are still working through his advice and some of it is saving time in terms of linking Facebook to Instagram and others are saving us money through carrying out more of the basic accountancy tasks ourselves.”

John Fitzgerald, Start-Up business advisor at the Chamber, said: “I think it is really important to listen to businesses because that is how you help people. I listened to Mario and Michelle about how they got to this stage with their business, where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do. I could then suggest which of our workshops was most suitable from our Start-Up programme because it is incredibly important to dedicate time into working on the business instead of just working in the business.”

The support was delivered by the Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire’s five District and Borough Councils. The support is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (via Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council), and Warwickshire County Council.

Councillor Martin Watson, Portfolio Holder for Economy at Warwickshire County Council, said: “Supporting Warwickshire’s businesses is a key priority for the County Council. It is great to see the positive impact the Start-Up Programme and the tailored support and skills can provide to newer businesses; this is demonstrated through the advice and workshops provided to MJ Classic Engineering and the benefit this had on their business.”

Carol Ingleston, economic development officer at Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, said: “The Council is committed to growing its local economy and supporting businesses to ensure they achieve their true potential. I was delighted to be able to see the impact that the business support offered by us, Warwickshire County Council and Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has had on MJ Classic Engineering. The tailored support and expertise that the Business Growth Warwickshire programme provides is second-to-none. The scheme has had a huge impact across the borough.”