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UKTI boosts British building firms partnerships in Middle East

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is helping dozens of small British businesses to seek out partnerships in the Middle East at the region’s top construction fair, ‘The Big Five’ in Dubai.

A total of 65 British businesses - from wood floorers to building designers to plumbing specialists - are representing the UK’s construction products industry at the week-long event, which runs until Thursday. ‘The Big 5’ is billed as the Middle East’s largest building and construction exhibition, with almost 3,000 exhibitors taking part.

UK Trade & Investment Chief Executive Andrew Cahn said: “Leading British firms have successfully competed for contracts in the Middle East worth billions of pounds. RMJM are helping to design part of the National Exhibition Centre in Abu Dhabi. Foster + Partners are the masterplanners for the carbon-free Masdar Development. And Benoy architects are working on exciting projects such as Yas Island and Ferrari World.”

Some 36 of the firms at ‘The Big Five’ are small businesses funded by UKTI’s Tradeshow Access Programme, under which small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can apply for grants of up to £1,800 to participate in 400 overseas trade fairs each year.

“UKTI provides help for small businesses with the ambition and vision to break into the Middle East market so that they can seize opportunities and win business for Britain. Our locally-based staff can provide advice, we have programmes for firms new to export, and our Tradeshow Access Programme takes SMEs to meet industry movers and shakers at events such as ‘The Big Five’,” said Andrew Cahn.

Chief executive of the Construction Products Association Michael Ankers said: “The reports I have had this morning are that this is proving to be an extremely successful event. The companies are reporting great interest in their products and are finding some excellent business opportunities.”

‘The Big Five’ event is taking place just ahead of UK Trade & Investment’s biggest ever trade mission - Britain in the Region - when more than 200 UK companies, including many SMEs and medium-sized firms, will meet in Dubai.