Eurowire Containers Ltd (ECL) was established during an economic slump in the early 1990s. “So recession is nothing new to us,” said Managing Director Kamal Uddin.
“However, through diversification, innovation, moving up the value chain, improving quality standards and continuing an investment programme, we have not only increased production in the current difficult economic climate but are creating new employment opportunities as well.”
Kamal co-founded Black Country-based ECL with his father-in-law, Kenyan-born engineer Mohammed Yunus, manufacturing wire products and baking pans mainly for Asian sweet shops.
Now, joined by brother-in-law Baz Maan as the third family member of the management team, they have a 20-strong workforce and plan to take on another four people in the next six months.
Today, ECL is the UK’s only wire goods manufacturer to specialise in the food and bakery sectors, supplying UK industrial bakeries and food plants and exporting to Ireland and Poland, where it continues to supply a customer which has transferred production from the UK to Central Europe.
After a £200,000 investment programme over the last three years, during which ECL introduced new equipment, including CNC machinery, carried out extensive refurbishment and completed improvements to the riverbank which adjoins its 27,000 sq ft premises at Cradley, near Halesowen, the firm is now poised for further redevelopment.
It plans to create its own design centre and graphics studio, which will also provide space for trade displays – and facilities for other SMEs to utilise.
Kamal added: “We’ve been a successful family business for many years and during that time an ongoing relationship with Business Link has really broadened our horizons and opened up a wealth of opportunities.
We’ve received excellent support from people who understand our business and who have helped us to expand our range of products and services and diversify into new markets.”
He also praised invaluable help received from the Black Country Chamber, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and the Black Country Asian Business Association (BCABA), which, in 2006, awarded ECL its “Learning Company of the Year” Award for the development of its strong staff training culture.
“You never stop learning in business,” said Kamal, “and we are continually improving the way we do things. We don’t have all the answers – but working with advisers such as Business Link has helped us take some big steps in the right direction.”
Mohammad Nazir, chairman of the West Midlands Minority Ethnic Business Forum, commented: “ECL’s success has been maintained through recessionary periods and more buoyant times.
It is an inspirational demonstration to other minority-owned SMEs that today’s tough economic climate can still be conquered through good business advice, a quality product innovation and sound knowledge of your local and global marketplace.”