23/09/2013 05:48 BST | Updated 22/11/2013 05:12 GMT

Tomorrow's Manufacturing, Mission to China

The UK is home to some of the most innovative small and medium sized enterprises in the world. We have a wonderful research and knowledge base and are striving to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business. This is crucial for us to stay ahead in the global race.

As the primary channel through which we support innovation, the Technology Strategy Board is vital for this success. Together we are pushing the boundaries when it comes to supporting businesses, and this month there is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a number of lucky businesses.

On the 22 September, thirteen of the UK's most promising and innovative companies in sustainable manufacturing will be visiting three industrial hubs in Changsha, Guangzhou and Shanghai in what the Chinese and UK Government's are calling 'Tomorrow's Manufacturing: Mission to China'.

Run by the Technology Strategy Board and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China, the week-long Mission seeks to encourage collaborative innovation by providing an opportunity for Chinese and UK organisations to grow their international operations. This will be achieved through partner, investor, supplier and customer meetings, where there is strong in enterprise and innovation.

The mission will cover key Chinese manufacturing industry sectors including automotive and transport, textiles, machine building, energy, electronics and pharmaceuticals. China is undoubtedly the world's fastest-growing economy and is the largest global manufacturer of toys, textiles, pharmaceuticals, cameras and computers, to name a few. It is also the world's largest consumer of raw materials including iron, steel, coal and cement. The opportunities for these companies to make new links with likeminded companies are fantastic.

The Mission will involve a number of meetings at selected centres, where a cross section of interested Chinese industry representatives will assemble to hear presentations and hold one to one discussions with UK delegates. This is also just one small part of the wider collaboration work we are doing with China. The UK-China partnership will continue next year with additional collaborative research and development funding. This will be specifically for projects that support the development and commercialisation of innovative approaches to sustainable manufacturing.

I hope that the companies take a lot from this experience and are able to make some great links with partners in China and attract new business to help continue to support growth and I look forward to hearing more about their success in the coming months.