For the third year running, Heathrow and the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) Exporting is GREAT campaign are inviting SMEs across the country to apply for 20 ‘World of Opportunity’ grants worth £2,000 each. The grants will support small businesses that are just beginning to export or help those companies that can export, but don’t.
Previous winners of the World of Opportunity grant such as Visit Football, Pearson Cycle Specialists and Julia Brooker Paintings have used the money to fund vital trade missions, participate in international trade shows or commission the international market research needed to establish their brands in these countries.
Representatives from DIT will support each winner by helping them access the right information, advice and assistance while connecting businesses to overseas buyers, markets and each other. Plaza Premium will also be providing complimentary lounge passes for the winners as they leave Heathrow on their journeys.
A panel of exporting experts including Lord Deighton, Heathrow’s Chairman and Parveen Thornhill, Head of London & Devolved Administrations from DIT will select this year’s winners.
Last year’s ’World of Opportunity’ Programme received nearly 150 entries from SMEs from Cornwall to Glasgow and the programme is expected to become even more competitive this year. To win one of the prized 20 grants, applicants will need to show why they’re primed to expand their businesses abroad, demonstrate their export capability and give their rationale for the markets they’re targeting.
The grants help to ensure British businesses benefit from the economic opportunities that Heathrow provides as the UK’s only hub airport and most valuable port, with more long-haul routes than any other UK airport and connections to 200 destinations in over 80 countries.
In addition to this programme, for the past 22 years Heathrow has run a successful series of Business Summits around the country. The summits give SMEs the opportunity to engage directly with top tier companies in the airport’s supply chain and discover opportunities to become one of the many businesses that keeps Heathrow running.
Heathrow Chairman, Lord Deighton said:
“This is the third year that we’re running the World of Opportunity programme and we’re eagerly looking forward to reviewing the entries from a wide variety of innovative and unique small businesses from every corner of the country.
“As the UK’s front door we play a key role in connecting British entrepreneurs to markets further afield and we’re looking forward to supporting these small businesses as they begin their exporting journeys.”
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss MP said:
“For three years, the World of Opportunity Programme has been successful in helping to generate tens of thousands of pounds for SMEs from across the UK, helping to spark a nationwide movement of UK businesses selling overseas.
“Supporting SMEs is part of the government’s commitment to promote a culture of exporting – a key pillar of the Export Strategy which aims to raise exports as a proportion of GDP from 30 to 35 per cent.”
Visit Football Managing Director and 2018 winner, Lewis Youngson said: “We were delighted to be selected as one of the winners and used the grant funding to attend a prestige industry event in Miami. This access to new contacts and business leads has resulted in an upturn in our engagement with the burgeoning U.S market. It is a privilege to be part of the Heathrow World of Opportunity winners club and we hope to do more with them in the future to further promote the UK as a prime tourist destination.”
LMK Thermosafe Managing Director and 2018 winner, Mark Newton said: “We were delighted to be a winner in last year’s World of Opportunity programme. We used the prize towards the costs of visiting a relevant Trade Show in Argentina and developing a business relationship with a potential sales partner. This has opened up opportunities in a new geographic market that we would otherwise not have addressed”