MSBs, defined as having a revenue between £10m and £100m or between 49-500 employees, generate a remarkable 23 per cent of private sector revenue, contributing a total of £300bn gross value added to the economy.
In the three years leading up to March 2013, SMBs created 185,000 jobs, a 4.1 per cent increase, compared with 1.9 per cent by large companies and 2.8 per cent by small firms. They now employ 4.7m people.
John Cridland, the CBI’s director-general, said: “The UK’s medium-sized businesses are the unsung heroes of our economy and have done much of the heavy lifting to drive the UK recovery.
“Up and down the country MSBs are major local employers, in many cases helping to offset public sector job losses during the downturn.”
The CBI is calling on the government to give MSBs more recognition and support by helping them access the right kinds of finance and raising the profile of export support schemes. It also wants local authorities to champion their local MSBs
Cridland continued: “These firms are optimistic and want to make the most of the recovery. With the right help from the Government their future growth potential could be even greater.
“With better access to a range of growth finance options, improved training and research support, and help to break into new exports markets – these firms could be worth an extra £20bn to our economy by 2020.”
The importance of MSBs is particularly clear on a regional level. In the North-East of England they account for just 2.2 per cent of all businesses but generate almost half (48 per cent) of private sector revenue.
The CBI’s is just the latest call for greater recognition of the unique challenges facing MSBs. A survey last month found many medium-sized companies felt “held back” by being lumped in with small companies as “SMEs”.
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