BSIA welcomes House of Lords recommendation for greater export support for SMEs

Alex Carmichael - BSIA Technical Director
Alex Carmichael - BSIA Technical Director

The  British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has welcomed the release of a new report entitled ‘Roads to Success: SME Exports’, published last month by the House of Lords Select Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises.

The report, to which the BSIA submitted its own evidence, summarises the results of the committee’s inquiry into what role the Government can play in helping over 4.8 million UK SMEs to boost their export sales, acknowledging the important role that exporting plays in assisting economic recovery.

Recognising the potential of British SMEs, in particular their “innovation, enthusiasm, creativity and commitment,” the report insists that “more has to be done to disseminate information about exporting – about how to reap the benefits while minimising the risks, how to take the first step and where to go when difficulties arise.”

The report also investigates the barriers to international trade for SMEs, citing the availability of finance, the impact of international regulation and concerns about the infringement and enforcement of intellectual property rights as the key issues inhibiting SMEs’ expansion into export markets.

For the UK’s private security industry, exporting has become increasingly important during the economic downturn, a fact supported by a recent survey of the BSIA’s Export Council, in which 85% of members indicated that exporting had become more important to their business since the recession, while two thirds reported that overseas business had increased for them over the past 12 months.

With the world market for security and fire protection valued at around £176.8bn[1] and the UK ranked sixth in the global security export business, exporting is becoming an increasingly attractive option for UK-based security companies looking to generate growth.

Alex Carmichael, Director of Technical and Export Services at the BSIA, comments: “With exporting becoming increasingly important to our sector, the BSIA has welcomed the publication of this report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises, which represents the Government’s acknowledgement that more help can be offered to SMEs looking to expand their business outside of the UK.”

For UK security companies considering taking the first steps towards exporting their products and services, members of the BSIA’s specialist Export Council have compiled their top ten tips for getting started, which includes advice on making and developing contacts, how to get the best out of UKTI and British Embassies, and what pitfalls to avoid.

John Davies, Chairman of the BSIA’s Export Council, comments: “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.”

Security companies interested in establishing a foothold in overseas markets can download the BSIA Export Council’s top tips for security exporters.

The BSIA’s Export Council was established in 1994 to assist UK security companies to establish and build relationships with overseas buyers, and acts as an invaluable port of call for overseas-based contacts interested in developing a relationship with a UK company as a partner, customer or distributor. For more information about the BSIA’s Export Council, visit its website at

The full report of the House of Lords Select Committee on SMEs can be downloaded from the Houses of Parliament’s website.

BSIA Website

[1] Keynote, Security Industry Market Report, 2010