UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has pledged to support the security industry in the wake of a House of Lords recommendation for more exporting assistance to firms. A spokesman told SecurityNewsDesk they are “committed” to helping accelerate the sector’s steady year-on-year export growth.
Last month, the House of Lords Select Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises called for available resources to be more heavily promoted so small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) know where to get support.
Its ‘Roads to Success: SME Exports’ report called on government agencies UKTI and UK Export Finance to do more to ensure SMEs know about the help available to overcome problems and achieve export success.
During the economic downturn, exporting has grown in importance for the UK private security industry as shrinking domestic markets put pressure on companies to look overseas. The world market for security and fire protection is valued at around £176.8 billion and the UK is ranked sixth in global security exporting.
The Committee noted that UKTI did a “good job with companies they support” but voiced concerns that awareness about the organisation is low. It called for the agencies to “blow their own trumpets and promote their services for SMEs” in order to generate more awareness of the vital assistance available.
UKTI estimates the sector was worth £380 million in 2011 and predicts it will surpass £500 million in 2015.
Adam Thomas, spokesman for UKTI’s Defence and Security Sector, told SecurityNewsDesk: “Our issue is to make sure we offer the same level of support to the security sector as we do to the defence sector.
“We are looking at a number of campaigns globally across the security sector and we, as an organisation at desk level right through to director level, will offer the appropriate level of support to make sure we raise the export sector higher than it has been in the last few years.”
The British Security Industry Association welcomed the publication of the Committee’s report, but also highlighted the importance of seeking support and advice when developing exporting plans.
John Davies, Chairman of the BSIA’s Export Council, said: “However enthusiastic companies may be, there are many challenges that they may face when developing their business abroad. Market forces, timing and cultural factors can conspire to have a significant impact on exporting opportunities, so research and preparation is essential.”