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Tailored support could help UK SMEs boost exports

23 January 2014

Trade Minister, Lord Livingston, will personally write to each of the UK’s 8900 mid-sized businesses by this summer asking if they would like trade support from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

Research carried out by Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has indicated that awareness of UKTI and UKTI’s services amongst food and drink mid-sized businesses is relatively low and this new initiative could help to raise awareness of the support that Government can offer.

The FDF believes it's also a promising sign that UKTI is able to adapt its services to suit the needs of mid-sized business, which often fall between the cracks of support on offer to small and large enterprises. The UK’s 350 food and drink mid-sized businesses generate £25billion annually – a quarter of total industry turnover – and as such, are a constituency too valuable to overlook.

Steve Barnes, FDF’s director of Economic & Commercial Services, said: “Mid-sized businesses are vitally important to the food and drink manufacturing industry, accounting for over a quarter of our total turnover. Most of these businesses are already exporting but many simply react to overseas enquiries, rather than proactively seeking out export opportunities.
“We welcome this action from Lord Livingston and UKTI, which we hope will further encourage UK food and drink mid-sized businesses to export. Tailored support will help them better identify overseas opportunities and advise them on where best to focus their resources. Exploiting this untapped growth potential essential if we are to keep up with our European competitors, who are currently outperforming us on food and drink exports.”

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