LONDON, May 6 -- British Business Secretary Vince Cable on Tuesday announced that postgraduate students are to be recruited to help firms across the country overcome language and cultural barriers to break into overseas markets.
"The 'Made in Britain' brand opens doors to UK firms around the world but a lack of language and cultural skills slams them shut in their faces," Cable said.
"Our medium-sized businesses have the potential to be economic powerhouses for the UK but their success is dependant on expanding beyond domestic markets," he said.
"This important new initiative will help firms overcome the barriers that are a drag on growth and compete with the best the rest of the world has to offer," Cable added.
According to independent research, nearly 48 billion pounds (81.4 billion U.S. dollars) in international sales are lost every year because of language and cultural ignorance, which mostly affects medium-sized firms.
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), a department of the British government working with businesses to focus on international markets, said they would cooperate with universities and business schools to find students with language skills for British firms that need such talents.
"Recruiting an international student from the market you are trying to export to can have a dramatic affect on your business. Whether that is undertaking market research, dealing with enquiries that arrive in a foreign language or making sure that you do not make a cultural faux pas when meeting international clients," said Suzannah Hutton, lead language and cultural adviser for UKTI.
Statistics released by the UK Council for International Student Affairs showed that Britain had 425,265 non-British higher education students from 2012 to 2013, with most students hailing from China, India and Nigeria.