An innovative Birmingham business was hailed as a role model for firms across the country to follow in a keynote speech by Labour’s business spokesman.

Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna praised Frankly-based firm Strip Tinning for successfully exporting products across the world - and said other businesses should follow its example to help Britain’s economy grow.

In a speech to businesses leaders at the Confederation of British Industry, he said: “Recently I visited Strip Tinning in Birmingham, a fantastic company with over 50 years of engineering history.

“You know when the windscreen on your car freezes up, and you push a button to clear it? Strip Tinning makes those tiny strips of metal ribbon that heat up and melt the ice.

“In fact, their parts are in 95 per cent of the world’s car windscreens - an astonishing figure.

“Even in difficult economic times they achieved 75 per cent growth in the last year through their export success. By the way, if you look at their website, you can view it in Chinese as well as in English, which tells its own story.”

The MP also highlighted a Lancashire clothing firm, adding: “Just two examples of export success – firms making good quality, innovative and reliable products that the world wants. We need more businesses to replicate their success.”

Mr Umunna said Britain needed to do more to export to China, India and Brazil, but also highlighted other countries with growing economies including Bangladesh, Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt and Turkey.

And he suggested schools should consider teaching children the languages spoken in countries with growing economies.

“A major concern is the relative lack of foreign language skills in the UK, which limits firms’ abilities to make and maintain direct links abroad.

“Traditionally, we have tended to focus on French and German, with a much greater focus on Spanish in recent years. Now we need to ask which additional languages will equip us to compete in emerging markets and give much more focus to them.”