Why was Dreamr invited to speak?
It was an honour and a privilege to speak on behalf of the Manchester business community last week. I was lucky enough to travel to the Houses of Parliament, to talk about some of the uncertainties facing businesses as Brexit comes ever closer. As a business with a broad range of nationalities within our team, Brexit is something that is a regular topic of conversation at Dreamr.
The event was organised and co-sponsored by an MP from each of the main political parties. It was in conjunction with the British Chambers of Commerce to further the conversation with businesses large and small, so interested parties including MPs could hear how the continued uncertainty is impacting on real businesses and the economy.
As one of two speakers from SMEs – the other being a manufacturing company from Bristol, I was glad of the opportunity to share the story of how Brexit has impacted on us recently.
How does Brexit affect Dreamr?
I won’t lie, it’s a story really close to my heart. At Dreamr we love having a diverse team from interesting places. As a lot of the team are relatively new to the country, realistically they could choose to move pretty much anywhere in the EU. It’s great that they have chosen Manchester to live and work. Luckily, the UK and of course Manchester, is a very attractive option, and at Dreamr we do everything we can to make the environment one where people will thrive.
Despite this, there has been an occasion where one of our team (originally from the EU), felt that the uncertainty of Brexit was too stressful and opted to move to another country within the EU to avoid problems later down the line. Eventhough he loved his time at Dreamr, he wanted to feel secure in the country he was living in, and because of Brexit, didn’t feel fully secure in the UK. He was gutted to leave, and I was gutted to see him go. However, this just made me realise that Brexit is already affecting us, and it’s at the expense of our team members.
At Dreamr, we like to get things sorted there and then. Instead of being a company which waits around for things to work out in the end, we have always had a strategy for attracting and retaining the best people. There is a skills gap already, and as we know, tech companies continue to flock to Manchester. There’s a lot of competition for the best people, which continues. I work with schools, specialist colleges, coding schools, Universities. Inviting young people to visit, to do work experience, internships, and point them in the right direction. I take juniors when I can, who develop their skills on the job, learning from the best.
I am also involved with the Chamber of Commerce on various skills projects, including one on apprenticeships, both here and in Spain/Austria. I’m involved with a Common Language project to encourage more women into tech and demystify tech-speak. I think we definitely do as much as we feel able, in the time we have as an SME – in between creating great products for our clients.
The Houses of Parliament
Lynne speaking at The Houses of Parliament
The day that I headed to the Houses of Parliament finally rolled around and the audience of MPs and members of the business community certainly listened. They were extremely receptive to hearing real stories about how it is on the ground rather than from a high level perspective. I think this is due to the fact that real people are actually involved. Real businesses who are already feeling the affect of Brexit and the impact it is already having on amazing workers from the EU. I think there was a sense of shock surrounding the very real impact on businesses of the current uncertainty. Many attendees were passionate in telling me their own stories of how these issues are affecting them which was great to hear as it made me realise we aren’t alone.
It was interesting to hear The Director General of British Chambers of Commerce and listen to his speech. He commented that generally there are three types of business right now. The ones planning for the future outside of the EU, the ones who will wait and see, and the ones hoping it may go away and not doing anything. It does feel better knowing we’re doing what we can to look after our team, and to protect our business. It’s also great knowing that we had the chance to ensure those who can influence the future understand the very real issues that businesses are currently facing when it comes to Brexit.