Security companies across the UK need to take advantage of the opportunities available from exporting their services to meet a growing demand from overseas, according to two industry experts.
Both UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) work with UK-based security businesses to help give them expert and practical advice to assist companies looking to grow overseas.
The US, China, Japan, India and Germany remain the top five destinations for UK companies exporting, while the Middle East, south-east Asia, Turkey and West Africa are growing key areas for British security firms.
Simon Everest, Head of the UKTI Security Directorate, said British exporting is a “real growth area” as the government has targets in place to boost the numbers of UK businesses exporting – it is hoped that UK exports in total will rise to £1 trillion in 2020.
Within the security field, he pinpoints access control, cameras, CCTV and cyber security as areas of huge interest from overseas. In addition, the success of the secure Olympic Games in London has also generated “a lot of interest” in event security.
He accepts there is more that British security firms can do to achieve further export success and take advantages of the opportunities that are out there.
“The UK security exports in 2011 were £2.6 billion and we are looking to improve on that,” Everest said.
“It’s been steady year-on-year growth in exports from the UK security over the last four years as the global market keeps on growing – we reckon it was £380 million in 2011 and think it is going to grow to over £500 million in 2015. So there is plenty of scope for UK to do better.”
John Davies, managing director at TDSi, is an export veteran and Chairman of the BSIA’s Export Council. The Council meets regularly throughout the year to help interested security firm member hone their export marketing strategies.
He strives to take the “worry and uncertainty away” for those apprehensive about exporting but admits there are challenges to helping more security businesses take advantage of the “export potential” offered from the seasoned exporters that form the Council.
“It’s a big task. When you look at the BSIA there are over 500 member companies, 17 or 18 different sections, and there are only about 65 or 70 of that 500 that are actually part of the export council and are actively exporting,” added Mr Davies.
“There is an awful lot more that we can do to get other members to dip their toe in the water and look at the big wide world outside of the UK.”
The Council has a collection of market research from all over the world and its meeting are attended by representatives from a vast number of outside companies. It can also provide guidance around schemes and grants that are available, from the likes of UKTI, in an attempt to get more security companies to start exporting.
“Those resources are available to people and also we can connect new members to the right resources,” stated Davies.
“We plug new guys into this network to basically take the worry and uncertainty away from them and tell them ‘if you do it right and invest the time and money’ then you needn’t be so overly concerned.”
To find out more information about the BSIA Export Council and see security exporting case studies, visit the Council’s website.