By Max Clarke

With an ambitious four-year development plan worth £80 billion, British companies should consider business opportunities in Kuwait. This was the clear message from Mark Prisk during his first official visit to the Gulf this week.

The Minister for Business and Enterprise said:

"Kuwait is the UK's fourth largest trading partner in the Gulf. Between January and November last year, our exports of goods increased by nearly 20 per cent compared with the previous year.

"Kuwait's four-year plan will involve more than 1,000 projects, covering infrastructure, healthcare, housing and education. It includes a £4.6 billion metro system, which will integrate with the planned GCC rail network, a 1,500 kilometre system that will link all the Gulf States.

"British companies can play a pivotal role in Kuwait's exciting development plans and my visit to Kuwait is to promote British firms as the partners of choice for new business."

Many British companies are already working successfully in Kuwait. They include Reading-based WinScribe. Founded in 1995, WinScribe is a world-leading digital dictation software provider, with offices in the UK, the USA, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. The company services its clients through an extensive network of 100+ sales partners in over 25 countries, supporting more than 350,000 users worldwide.

WinScribe software supports business requirements for digital dictation, transcription, voice recognition and workflow management in the healthcare, legal, law enforcement and government sectors, among others. The firm has been focusing business development on the Middle East, with the help of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) South East.

In January 2010 the company secured its second deal in Kuwait, where it has installed its technology in Adan Dabbous Cardiac Center Hospital. Since then, Winscribe has appointed an additional partner in Kuwait who is also active in other parts of the Middle East, recently completing the roll out of its dictation system in two of Dubai's most prestigious private hospitals - The City and The Welcare Hospital Dubai.