The best of West London, Surrey and Thames Valley businesses joined Heathrow, business leaders, tier-one suppliers and executive chairman Lord Deighton for the 21st annual Heathrow Business Summit.
The Summit connected more than 200 SMEs directly with Heathrow’s biggest suppliers which shared their expertise in attaining contract opportunities at the airport. This year, Heathrow also launched a new pilot apprenticeship programme which linked higher education and further education institutions with hundreds of SMEs, to encourage them to hire more apprentices.
SMEs took advantage of the unique opportunity to trade face-to-face with one another, Heathrow and the airport’s supply chain. Participants joined in speed-dating style sessions with procurement managers representing businesses based at Heathrow and within the airport’s supply chain. The Department of International Trade were also on hand to give businesses expert advice on how to take the first steps towards exporting products with the help of the UK’s only hub airport.
These one-to-one meetings come as Heathrow prepares the groundwork for its multi-billion-pound expansion project. The event forms part of airport’s commitment to promoting business opportunities for SMEs and is a key initiative in Heathrow’s ambition to end local youth unemployment by giving opportunities to local businesses. The annual Summit has been successful in helping to grow Heathrow’s local boroughs’ economy through business rates and direct investments in the 21 years since its inception.
Deighton said: “We all have a common interest in making the local area around Heathrow the very best it can be. Nothing exemplifies that more than us all coming together to highlight the opportunities available for SMEs and to encourage them to reap the benefits for having the UK’s hub airport on their doorstep – there are many great examples, including TrueForm, a Hillingdon-based hardware company who came to the Business Summit for the first time last year and immediately were offered a trial contract from Mace.
“We have a vision to give passengers the best customer service in the world and with the help of our ever growing supply chain, I know we can deliver that.”
Heathrow is moving forward with its plans to deliver expansion, and its economic boost of up to £211 billion, 180,000 jobs and 10,000 apprenticeships. Engaging with a wider supply chain is key to achieving those ambitions and will help to ensure Heathrow delivers a legacy of increased construction productivity for future generations.
The Heathrow Business Summit follows five other successful Summits held in South West, North West, Wales, North East and Scotland – all of which form part of the airport’s pledge to create jobs in every corner of the UK.
Chief executive of Surrey Chambers of Commerce Louise Punter said:“It’s fantastic to see a vibrant mix of small and medium sized businesses engaging with Heathrow’s main contractors.”
Chief executive of West London Business Andrew Dakers said:“The Heathrow Business Summit is a firmly established milestone in the West London business community’s annual calendar. It provides a vital opportunity for businesses of all sizes to access opportunities in the airport’s supply chain through a series of structured one to one meetings – as well as space for informal networking throughout the day.
Chief executive of Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Paul Britton said:“The Heathrow Business Summit 2017 is a fantastic leading event that gives local SMEs the opportunity to connect directly with Heathrow’s supply chain. The event continues to grow year on year and provides fantastic insights and opportunities for businesses to connect and develop new business.”