By Daniel Hunter

Britain’s mid-sized firms hold the key to the UK’s economic development, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) director-general, John Cridland, said in a recent visit to Brompton Bicycle’s London base.

Mr Cridland reinforced the message of the CBI’s Future Champions campaign — emphasising the enormous contribution that firms with turnovers of between £10m and £100m can make to the economy.

“Every time a multinational invests in the UK that's a success. But we hear about those,” he said. “What we don't hear about are the companies like Brompton. With a few thousand companies like this we could rule the world."

Mr Cridland added that innovation was crucial to the growth of mid-sized companies such as Brompton.

"What's very apparent from this manufacturing facility is the importance of process innovation — not just in Brompton's, but any company," he said.

The CBI’s Future Champions report estimates that mid-sized businesses have the potential to inject between £20bn and £50bn into the economy by 2020.

Mr Cridland’s comments were reported in a feature in Engineering and Technology Magazine, a trade publication for professional engineers.

In the piece he also focused on education — which forms a key focus of the CBI’s 2012 work in the shape of the Ambition for All in schools project.

"If you look at the biggest single factor that will determine our competitiveness to deliver iconic branded goods and services to world markets, it's the talent of the people,” he said. “But, if you look at the biggest single weakness on any international league table of the British economy, it's that our education system fails so many of our young people."