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Egyptian experience echoes UK beginnings

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Key was one of the first facilities management businesses in the UK market.

Mitchell has linked up with local partners to spearhead the Egyptian venture. He explains: “The culture is completely different, the economy is completely different and there is very little understanding of what we do in facilities management. On the positive side, there is a hunger to learn and there are a lot of very good people willing to do so.

"There is a market there to develop. Many corporate and international organisations are coming into Egypt and they’re looking for something that doesn’t exist until now.”

Key currently has over 50 employees and revenue of more than £5m. Mitchell formed the company with his wife in 1990. “I worked for an American corporate beforehand and got introduced to facilities management as a recognised discipline. For me, facilities management just makes sense. It professionalises all the support activities for the core business which after all represents the highest overhead for almost every organisation,” he says.

“The American corporate I worked for closed down so I decided I was going to have a go and started up my own business which at the time was a very new discipline in a nonexistent marketplace.” The company is currently restructuring in order to take its approach and experience to other parts of the world beyond Egypt and anticipates launching in two more countries by the end of 2008.

The facilities management sector in the UK is worth an estimated £90bn. Mitchell adds: “There now exists the British Institute of Facilities Management, which is the biggest national organisation of its type in the world; there are eight universities where you can get a degree in facilities management; there is a facilities management committee within the British Standards Institute; and more recently there is now a Standard Industrial Classification Code, which means that the government is now able to recognise that it exists!"

Facilities Management has come a long way in the past 20 years within the UK and its understanding, development and application continues worldwide.

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