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, Trade Minister Lord Livingston announced today.

Lord Livingston will personally write to all the UK’s 8,900 mid-sized businesses by this summer 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. Some 14.3% of workers in the East of England* are employed by the region’s 795 mid-sized firms.

However only 17% of UK mid-sized businesses generate revenues outside of the EU compared to 25% in Germany and 30% in Italy.

Speaking ahead of the ‘Meet the Mittelstand’ conference in Staffordshire, which is bringing successful German companies to Britain so UK companies can hear about their strategies for success, 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 dependant 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.”

In the East of England, UKTI’s team of market and sector experts based across the region already provide help and advice to many of the region’s most successful MSBs, some of which will meet with Lord Livingston when he visits the region at the end of the month. UKTI Regional Director Liz Basing commented:

“UKTI East’s role is to help exporters in our region grow to their full potential. Our team of International Trade Advisers bring knowledge and expertise based on personal experience of international business in the private sector – with many of them having first-hand experience of working with or within MSBs.

“They will work with you to develop strategies to enter or grow market share in overseas markets as well as help you find contacts or information sources. And with even more help than ever for MSBs, there is no reason to delay getting in touch with us to make the most of what we have to offer. Call us today on 0845 641 9955 or email us at info@uktieast.org.uk.”

Alexander Ehmann, Deputy Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors (IoD), commented:

“Building a sustainable recovery means improving the UK’s export performance.

“Doing business abroad will always involve risk, particularly in developing markets, so companies want to have as much information as possible before diving in.

“IoD members who have used UKTI’s services give them a good rating and we welcome the decision to expand the support they provide to mid-sized firms.”

UKTI 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 UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) advisers by April 2014 and drive £1.2 billion in export revenue from the leads it generates.

A pilot study is due to start next month in Yorkshire and Humberside as well as in the South East and finish by early Spring, followed by the full national roll out.

Companies interested in learning more about exporting opportunities should contact UKTI at www.ukti.gov.uk