EVERY mid-sized business in the country will be offered tailored trade advice and an intensive programme of support to help them start exporting or break into new markets.
That is the announcement made today by Trade Minister Lord Livingston.
A pilot study will begin in the South East followed by a full national roll out. The region has been chosen as it offers the largest selection of mid-sized businesses outside London.
Lord Livingston will personally write to all the region’s mid-sized businesses to ask them if they would like trade support from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).
Evidence shows that exporters do better with UKTI’s help and on average mid-sized businesses can increase their sales by £1.8m.
Mid-sized businesses are vital to the Government’s long-term economic plan to reduce the deficit and create more jobs.
The CBI estimates that, if they reach their full potential, it would be worth £20 to £50bn to the UK economy. Currently mid-sized businesses make up just 0.5% of all businesses but contribute around a fifth of employment and turnover in the UK.
However only 17 per cent of UK mid-sized businesses generate revenues outside of the EU compared to 25 per cent in Germany and 30 per cent in Italy.
Lord Livingston said: “Mid-sized businesses have the potential to be economic powerhouses for the UK economy, creating jobs and growth for all regions of the UK.
“Their success is dependent on expanding beyond domestic markets so we will be making personal contact with all mid-sized businesses to find out what we can do to help them go up a gear and compete with the best the rest of the world has to offer.
“Businesses excel with UKTI’s support and we want to make sure that they are not just trading abroad, but thriving there.”
Lewis Scott, regional director for UKTI South East, said: “The South East is an exporting giant – the biggest regional exporter with exports in 2013 totalling £33.4 billion.
“We hope this push will encourage other businesses to take advantage of what we can offer - we are here to support every mid-sized company that wants to sell its products and services overseas by providing bespoke trade advice.”
UKTI market and sector experts are based both in the UK and overseas – across 160 locations in 111 countries.
The Government department is also raising awareness of its services with smaller companies through a new national marketing campaign, Exporting is GREAT, which aims to generate 3,000 appointments for small firms with UKTI advisers by April 2014 and drive £1.2 billion in export revenue from the leads it generates.
Companies interested in learning more about exporting opportunities should contact UKTI at www.ukti.gov.uk/midsizedbusiness