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2/10/2014 11:36:07 AM

Medium-sized businesses are economy's heroes: CBI

Medium-sized businesses are economy’s unsung heroes, say CBI

The future looks bright for UK business according to a recent report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Fresh research conducted across UK-based medium-sized businesses (MSBs) indicates companies such as these have held the economy together during the recovery, playing a major role in creating jobs and growth.

Often overlooked because they don’t tend to be household names MSBs typically have a turnover of £10-£100m and employ between 50-499 people.

According to John Cridland, director general of the CBI, “medium-sized businesses are the unsung heroes of our economy.”

So how did these heroic companies earn such praise? MSBs account for only 1.8% of the UK private sector, yet employ 4.7 million people – or 16% of UK’s total workforce. In fact, in the 3 years up to March 2013, they created an impressive 185,000 jobs and contributed over £300m to the UK economy.

As the UK struggles to emerge from the economic downturn MSBs have played a vital role in keeping our country ticking over, particularly by offsetting public sector job losses.

And what of MSBs contribution to the Welsh economy? Here MSBs represent only 1.7% of firms and yet still employ 12% of the workforce and generate an impressive 26% of Welsh revenue. Emma Watkins, director of CBI Wales, labels MSBs “the dynamic force within the Welsh economy.” Watkins believes MSBs deserve greater attention from the UK government and has called for ministers “at both ends of the M4” to “direct more attention and focus on supporting MSBs in Wales.”

In Wales in particular the CBI urges for links between businesses and universities to be strengthened. It also states more should be done to exploit a lucrative export market.

The CBI believe the contribution shown so far by MSBs has merely scratched the surface of their potential and is calling on the government to shine the spotlight on their good work by providing appropriate support.

The CBI has made a series of recommendations for government departments and local authorities to begin showcasing the positive contribution of MSBs. The CBI has also created a networking event - #MSBMonday - on Twitter which encourages MSBs to interact and promote themselves through social media.

Cridland believes that “with the right help from the government…these firms could be worth an extra £20 billion to our economy by 2020.”

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