‘Forgotten Army’ deserves backing

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The head of one of South Yorkshire’s leading business advisers is calling on Government to provide more support for medium-sized businesses and manufacturers in particular.

Paul Houghton is the lead partner at Grant Thornton’s Sheffield office and one of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership’s private sector board members.

He says medium sized firms, which typically employ between 50 and 499 people and include many manufacturers, have outperformed small businesses and large corporations during the last five years

Between 2007 and 2012, medium sized firms grew by 5.4 per cent on average, compared with 0.7 per cent for SMEs and 2.4 per cent for large corporations, yet they remain a “forgotten army” that lacks any real Government support, says Mr Houghton.

“Our research suggests there has tended to be a national focus on small entrepreneurs and larger corporations, with businesses in the mid-range being overlooked.

“There are 34,100 mid-sized firms in the UK and their contribution to the economy is disproportionately high; they are the hidden success story of our economy.

“A large share of mid-sized businesses are found in the manufacturing sector, making them of particular importance in the Sheffield City Region. They are innovative, highly productive and dynamic organisations and their export growth is faster than any other category of business.

“More needs to be done not only to remove barriers to their success, such as excessive regulation, but also to support them and enable them to deliver further growth and jobs.”

The Sheffield Business Awards, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Thursday, December 5, 2013, 7pm to 2am. Black tie/evening dress. Guest speaker Countryfile TV presenter Julia Bradbury. Tickets from £85. Visit www.sheffieldbusinessawards.org.uk