By Daniel Hunter

The first trade mission of its kind, focusing solely on mid-sized businesses, will pay a two day visit to Turkey next week. Led by Trade and Investment Minister, Lord Green, and John Cridland, Director-General of the CBI, the mission to Turkey will help build links between UK and Turkish firms and boost trade and investment between the two countries.

The mission will be taking around 30 UK mid-sized businesses on a two day intensive visit to Turkey, where they will meet key figures from the Turkish Government and business community. The UK companies, including Amino Technologies, Black Country Metals and Brompton Bicycles, will get the opportunity to build and strengthen new and existing links in a growing market.

“This is an exciting mission, the first of its kind, that brings together the opportunity offered by Turkey, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and the export potential of the UK’s mid-sized firms," Trade and Investment Minister, Lord Green, said.

“The Government has set a clear target to get another 100,000 UK firms exporting as a key part of driving economic recovery. Direct engagement with key figures from the government and business community will help break down barriers and foster understanding that will lay strong foundations for future trade and investment.”

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said the mission was ground-breaking and significant.

“This trade mission breaks new ground, as the first one designed specifically for ambitious mid-sized businesses," he said.

"If we are to achieve the Government’s ambition of doubling our annual exports by 2020 to £1 trillion, we must look beyond the BRIC countries to other successful, high-growth markets such as Turkey.

“Turkey has a dynamic, growing economy, with an increasingly aspirant middle class keen to buy the sorts of goods and services we excel at, such as construction, education, and high-value manufacturing.”

The mission brings together the Department for Business, UK Trade and Investment and the CBI and their joint focus on helping to improve the performance of mid-sized businesses, announced as part of the Autumn Statement last year.

A key element of the growth review, Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk outlined the three key areas where mid-sized firms could improve their performance: harnessing leadership capability; supporting access to finance for investment and growth; and encouraging export as a strategy for growth.

The mission is a key part of the work to unlock growth among the UK’s 10,000 mid-sized businesses. They have been described by the CBI as a “forgotten army” of businesses, representing 0.2 per cent of all UK firms but accounting for one fifth of private sector output and employment. In their “Future Champions” report the CBI set out, with the right conditions, MSBs could unlock up to £20 billion annual GDP in the next ten years.

The outcomes and experiences of this mission will help pave the way for future mid-sized business focused visits concentrating on key emerging markets.

Turkey is already an important partner for British businesses with trade currently worth more than £9 billion. Major British companies like BP, Tesco, Vodafone, and HSBC already have a strong presence in Turkey, but there is scope to strengthen this relationship further.

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