Far Composites: The importance of face-to-face networking to build a business
Far Composites is an innovative SME offering a revolutionary approach to the design and manufacture of lightweight structural composite components.
Based in Nottingham with a growing global client base, Far Composites designs and conceptualises new materials and processes, specialising in low carbon vehicles. For example, Far Composites will design the key structural elements of carbon fibre vehicles, build and validate the prototypes for the client, and then offer the ongoing supply of structural elements or transfer the key technologies so that customers can build their own vehicles.
How did KTN help?
KTN first approached Far Composites in 2014 when Ajay Kapadia, Knowledge Transfer Manager, Composites, visited the Nottingham factory to meet with General Manager Lyndon Sanders. Ajay was keen to see how KTN could help Far Composites with its business development plan and reaching out to other companies in the industry to aid growth.
At that time, Far Composites was starting out on its journey to contact and build networks. KTN was able to help build important partnerships and make the right introductions. For example, KTN arranged for Far to meet with Ultrawise Innovation, a technical consultant in plastics and ultrasonic welding. Ultrawise Innovation, along with Far Composites, the University of Hertfordshire and several other companies, together applied for Innovate UK funding for ‘Rapid polymer to metal joints’. Together, the collaboration was awarded £133,000. KTN was on hand to help review the application before submission.
In November 2016, KTN invited Far Composites to take part in a number of exhibitions including the Advanced Engineering show at the National Exhibitions Centre (NEC) in Birmingham. Each year, KTN takes a stand and exhibition area at the show, which has over 700 exhibitors and partners.
The show and invitation from KTN was a huge milestone for Far Composites and incredibly successful. The company brought along two artefacts to display, including an actual car and chassis, demonstrating the inner workings of its unique technology. Both were well received. At the show, Far Composites was able to raise awareness of its brand, and importantly, gain face-to-face contact with a number of prospective investors.
- KTN has been able to give Far Composites a profile in the industry which it would have otherwise struggled to achieve.
- KTN’s activities in thermoplastic composites and joining of composites have aided Far Composites in its Innovate UK funding.
- The opportunity to take part in the NEC Advanced Engineering show and other exhibitions has led to several important contacts being built and potential business leads explored. Far Composites has subsequently gone on build relationships both in the UK and overseas. In particular, a Chinese customer who attended the show has subsequently placed an initial order for chassis design work.
- Far Composites now employs 19 people.