The squeezed middle

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A call for support for medium-sized businesses

To coincide with the launch of economia, we are unveiling a campaign to improve awareness of the potential of a hugely under-represented sector of the economy.

By highlighting the specific requirements of mid-sized companies, The Squeezed Middle campaign will raise the sector’s profile with the public (as potential employees), with investors and dealmakers and, vitally, with policymakers.

The intention is that we should all pay more attention to the M in SME and ultimately help realise the untapped potential of these businesses that represent the heart of British business. The CBI has claimed that these firms are essential to economic recovery and that they could have a game- changing impact.

Its Future Champions report estimated that given the right support, these firms could create an additional £50bn for the UK economy by 2020.

These are the fast-growth companies most likely to create jobs and lead the recovery. As our feature Going Large On Medium shows, there is a marked difference between attitudes to these firms in Germany and the UK.

In Germany there is a tradition of support for medium-sized, fast-growth private businesses.It is embedded in the country’s economic and political culture.

It shows in the actions of policymakers and the attitudes of investors. It shows, too, in the confidence of those running these firms and their success.

The UK government focus has been on start-ups (witness David Cameron’s support for Start-Up Britain), while the media has looked at corporate Britain and large PLCs.

Our campaign seeks to highlight the needs of firms with a turnover between £15m and £100m. Greater awareness of the needs of these companies will ensure the overall economic and political climate is as supportive as possible. This is where The Squeezed Middle campaign will play its part.

Our aim is to promote greater awareness among policymakers of these issues, which ultimately should lead to a better environment in which these companies can thrive. Their success will in turn help
drive growth, more job creation and a healthier economy.

The prize for success is that £50bn bonus to the UK economy.


Join the debate by commenting below, and follow The Squeezed Middle on twitter using #sqzmid 

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  • Comment by Simon Nash

    I totally agree with the plight of the "squeezed middle". However, I think the M in this context should include businesses lower than £15m. I've seen many businesses hit a glass ceiling at £8-10m revenue. If M extends to capture some of those as well, it might act as a catalyst to get those businesses to break through to the next level of growth. @srnassociates

  • Comment by Paul Samengo-Turner

    There are two Mittelstands in Europe, in northern Italy and in Germany. The key to both is a family which is committed to growing the business and which affords itself only what its company can afford. In the UK, the majority of those creating a business has an exit strategy. In the Mittelstand, there is no need for there is no intention of ever selling. It is this emphasis on the long term, which started a long time ago, which makes them so successful.

  • Comment by Duncan Lyons

    It is quite a challenge to replicate Germany's Mittelstand in the UK, most high street banks are not regional but national or international concerns and few people have a vocational urge to become an engineer or to run a manufacturing company. But there are engineering companies in a few sectors, such as motor racing, which make high value products, so perhaps our Mittelstand could grow through some of these companies diversifying into other areas.