Nick Herbert: Britain needs such risk-taking entrepreneurs

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert

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Last week I attended a special event at which a local company was presented with an award by the Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex on behalf of The Queen.

ADF Milking Ltd, based in Slindon, was awarded The Queen’s Award for Enterprise earlier this year. Winners have to demonstrate excellence in innovation, exports and sustainable development.

This is the UK’s highest accolade for business success, and although it is a small business, ADF Milking beat off competition from 300 other companies in the innovation category.

The company has created a clever new system which it is now selling worldwide, helping dairy farmers to tackle mastitis in their herds, increasing yields and reducing the need for antibiotics.

At the event, ADF’s Chief Executive Angus Buchanan expressed the company’s pride at having achieved success in “unlikely areas”: agriculture, manufacturing and mid economic recession.

Too often the manu-facturing and agricultural industries are talked down and undervalued. Yet we have the world’s sixth largest manufacturing sector, and it is beginning to grow again.

The agricultural industry, too, may be a smaller part of our economy, but it is no less important, not least in a world where the population is growing. Technology which improves yields will become ever-more important.

It was very encouraging to see ADF succeed despite the economic downturn. And as I wrote recently, things are clearly on the up.

This week the Chancellor said that the economy had “turned a corner”, and unemployment fell again, including in the Arundel and South Downs constituency.

It’s striking that three times more jobs have been created in the private sector than have been lost in the public sector, and an increase in manufacturing output is contributing to the growth.

Finally, the award reminded me about the importance of entrepreneurship. ADF’s founder, James Duke, re-mortgaged his house to start the company.

Britain needs such risk-taking entrepreneurs, and government should always be on their side.

Many congratulations to ADF for their success. We can be proud of this local company, and of Britain’s new manufacturing success.