Working with high spec CNC machining they conceptualise products to suit their clients needs and produce low volume prototyping through to medium volume production.
Founder Matt North tells us his start-up business story “I was a contract design engineer for many years and always had a long-standing ambition to set up my own company. It was in the summer of 2020 I was looking around and decided on the equipment I wanted to buy. I then found a business unit in Banbury. And, in September 2020 I started up MRN Engineering – a one stop shop consultancy for customers who needed to outsource design and manufacturing for low volume prototypes for engineering development phases. I do a lot of automotive, motorsport, push bike industry, consumer products and scientific research. My work is mostly low volume, quick turnaround, complicated and tight tolerance stuff that is done in this country. Whereas a lot of the larger production is outsourced to the Far East.”
Matt had reached a stage in the business where he needed external support to help guide him in the right direction to achieve business growth and further success. He explains why he connected with OxLEP Business “I was very much trading as a oneman band, doing both the design and manufacturing myself. I was focusing so much on delivery and getting things out the door, I wasn’t concentrating on business growth. My monthly outgoings are really high, what with my business unit and all the equipment I need. And I just got to a point where I knew external business help would be beneficial to me.”
Matt continues “I was searching for support and potential grant funding and found OxLEP on LinkedIn. So I got in touch with them straight away. Firstly, I did a couple of Power Hours with their advisors, one on marketing and one on business fundamentals. I might be a good engineer, but things that are less analytical don’t come naturally to me, so these sessions were really helpful.
"This [funding has] really has kicked off a whole new opportunity for me, on an international scale."
Alongside the one-to-one support and peer group sessions, MRN were awarded a grant through Cherwell District Council’s Business Adaptation Fund (CBAF) delivered by OxLEP Business. Matt expresses how he got involved in the funding process and the huge benefits it has brought to his business “I received an email about the CBAF grant opportunity and immediately expressed interest. I was invited to join the webinar where the OxLEP team talked about eligibility and the application process. I listened to all the advice and completed the forms and was awarded the funding. I could now purchase a new part for one of my machines, which means the functionality is far more advanced. I don’t think I’d have been able to afford this part for another few years probably. So, this grant has put me in a position where I can now offer my clients more complex and accurate solutions, and all in a shorter timeframe. I’m also able to employ someone to help me with production, which a big step for me and something I just wouldn’t have been able to do before the grant. It’s been a game changer.”
Matt reveals some exciting plans for the future “I currently have more work than I can deal with, so my forward plan is to look at getting help with production so I can focus on general business growth. I would like to buy more equipment and also look at getting some of my own products to market. This means I could set up ‘lights out machining’ where you set up your machine to run through the night. Manufacturing in the UK is under a lot of cost pressures, so this will be a way for me to be much more productive. I also want to get more members of staff in and an apprentice on board. There’s lots of exciting things for me to do moving forward.
“OxLEP definitely played a big part in getting my business to this point. They opened my eyes to where I can take my business and gave me a clearer vision. I’m going to continue to look for support from them for sure. They’ve helped me access stuff that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to access. They’ve accelerated my business growth that would have taken me a few years at least. And the whole team there are nice people which of course helps. I’ve already recommended OxLEP to other businesses and I will continue to do so. They are first-class.” says Matt.