The mid-market, not the SMB, is the true engine of future economic growth in the UK but has been largely "abandoned" by government policy, according to CBI director general John Cridland.
The leader of the business lobby group was speaking at an event in Oxfordshire this week hosted by Lancashire-based IT services provider – and mid-market company – Daisy.
"I would love to see the term SME disappear; there is no such thing. There are small businesses, and there are growing businesses that have become medium-size businesses," Cridland (pictured) said.
"It is the capability of gazelle-like growth of a £100m to £200m business that could be worth £500m in about five years' time that is our true national champion, a real dynamo.
"And we don't have enough of these companies making that growth spurt in Britain."
The UK has 10,000 mid-size firms, he said, but they had largely been "abandoned" by the government – whereas the SMB category got a lot of support, in aggregate.
Cridland drew a contrast with Germany, which he said had managed to support the continued growth of a much larger number of mid-size businesses that had contributed significantly to real strengths in its economy that the UK could only envy.
The government could help, he said, and so could the IT companies that provide the technologies that can enable and sustain future business agility and innovation.
And, said Cridland, the UK economy has turned a corner finally, meaning the time is right for companies to gear up for growth.
Matthew Riley (pictured, right), chief executive and founder of Daisy, said that business customers, particularly the mid-market, are casting around for ways to free up enough resources to innovate and grow. Daisy itself expects to do so, as well as help its customers do so.
"They need support to take it to the next stage," he said.
Nathan Marke, chief technology officer at Daisy, told delegates in his presentation that businesses have to keep up with the increasingly rapid pace of change to compete.
"Mobile, social, cloud and information technologies; if you get all that right, you've got a great opportunity to drive productivity," he said. "By 2020, more than three quarters of the S&P 500 will be companies you have never heard of."
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