Minister of state for trade and investment Lord Ian Livingstone will use a factory tour of digger manufacturer JCB's Staffordshire plant today to promote his campaign to support mid-sized businesses in the UK.
“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,” Lord Livingston announced today.
Lord Livingston will attend “Meet the Mittelstand” at the JCB Visitor Centre, in Rochester, for his first regional visit as trade minister. The event is aimed at bringing successful, privately-owned, engineering-focused German companies to the West Midlands to share with local firms the secrets of the world famous German “Mittelstand model”. This refers to a body of small and medium sized, export-orientated German companies that are considered to be the “backbone” of Germany’s economic growth.
Speaking ahead of the visit, 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 and the rest of what the world has to offer.
“Businesses excel with UKTI’s (UK trade and investment) support and we want to make sure that they are not just trading abroad, but thriving there.”
According to the UKTI, as part of the scheme Lord Livingston will personally write to all of the UK’s 8,900 mid-sized businesses to offer assistance from UKTI.
The initiative comes following evidence that by focusing on export, mid-sized business can expect to grow their sales by £1.8 million.
Mid-sized business presently makes up 0.5 per cent of all business but contribute around a fifth of employment and turnover in the UK, with only 17 per cent of UK mid-sized businesses generating revenues outside of the EU compared to 25 per cent in Germany and 30 per cent in Italy.
UK business lobbying organisation, CBI, predicts that they could potentially be worth between £20bn to £50bn to the UK economy.