Mid-sized firms hold the key to economic growth, says CBI

​The UK’s 3,000 scale-up medium-sized businesses contributed £59bn to the UK economy between 2010 and 2013, making the difference between recession and recovery, according to the CBI’s new director-general, Carolyn Fairbairn, who will make her first keynote speech today.

Speaking at the CBI’s MSB Summit in London, she will say that leveraging more medium-sized business potential can propel even stronger economic growth for the UK.

The CBI said that if the 2010-2013 scale-up rate (11 per cent) had matched the 2005-2008 rate (15 per cent), the £59bn contribution would have reached £85.6bn.

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Launching a new CBI report, in partnership with Lloyds Bank and Experian, called Life in the Fast Lane, she will reveal that seven out of 10 scale-ups are located outside London and they include firms spanning all sectors and ages.

Pledging further support for these scale-ups, defined as growing at an average rate of 20 per cent each year for three years, Ms Fairbairn will argue that while medium-sized businesses make up only two per cent of UK business, they are responsible for one in six jobs and generate nearly a quarter of private sector revenue.

Ms Fairbairn will say: “As a country, we’re good at telling the beginning of the story. The traditional story of ‘start-up Britain’, a single person, with a single idea and a single-minded determination.

“We’re also good at telling the end of the story. The story of “Brand Britain” of big, well-known firms which people recognise and interact with every single day.

“Yet the ‘missing link’ is the most interesting part. It’s the part where entrepreneurs grow their great idea, here they increase their profit, hire more people and expand beyond national borders.

“We found that seven in 10 scale-ups are located outside of London – from tech companies in Cambridge, to manufacturers in the Midlands and Dundee’s gaming industry. Scale-ups have the potential to help rebalance our economy and bring recovery to every corner of the UK.”

The new report includes a road map for scale-ups to help them achieve their ambitions, including advice on securing the right talent and governance structures and how best to harness innovation.

The CBI said mid-sized businesses have an annual turnover of between £10m and £100m.