UK SMEs get Export Boost through Heathrow

  • Heathrow to fund 20 SMEs’ trade missions, trade shows and foreign market research in partnership with the Department for International Trade’s ‘Exporting is GREAT’ Campaign
  • Products SMEs are looking to export include beauty products, organic beets, puncture-proof tyres and ice cream taste-tested by Royals
  • New YouGov research reveals 50% of British SMEs already exporting are looking to increase the destinations they export to in the next two years; the same timeframe that crucial Brexit negotiations are taking place.


Heathrow has awarded 20 SMEs from across the UK funding and support packages to encourage them to export their goods or services to new international markets.

Working in partnership with the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) ‘Exporting is GREAT’ Campaign, SMEs will receive £2000 each to fund trade missions or to research global markets of their choice. Through the ‘World of Opportunity Programme’ they will have access to personalised advice from a DIT International Trade Adviser and a Plaza Premium lounge pass to begin their trip in style as they depart from Heathrow.

Some of the SMEs in the ‘World of Opportunity Programme’ include:

  • Little Ondine, a London-based company looking to export its toxin-free, odourless, peel-off nail polish to Dubai.
  • Northern Ireland’s Glastry Farm Ice Cream which, having been tried and tested by the Prince of Wales, will look for consumers in the hot temperatures of the United Arab Emirates.
  • Airboss, which wants to export its unique puncture-proof tyres from its base in Cheltenham to the United States.

SMEs in the programme are also exporting British services, including:

  • The British Association of Snowsport Instructors, based in Scotland, will exhibit at the World Winter Sports Expo in Beijing with the funding it has been awarded.
  • Bristol, Plymouth and London-based architects AWW will be going to the Philippines on the Green Energy Technology Trade Mission.

The winners of the ‘World of Opportunity Programme’ are announced as a new YouGov survey revealed today that 50% of decision makers from British SMEs who currently export, say their business wants to increase their export destinations in the next two years until 2019; when Article 50 negotiations are due to complete.  A further 41% of current exporters want to continue exporting as they are in this timeframe.

The ‘World of Opportunity Programme’ was open from June 16 – July 14 of this year. Over 290 applications were received and the winning entries were chosen by a panel of experts including Heathrow Chairman Lord Deighton, DIT’s International Trade Adviser Keith Moses and Daily Express Small Business Correspondent Maisha Frost.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:

“As the UK’s gateway to the world and its biggest port by value, Heathrow is essential in getting British goods and services to international markets. From beauty products to specialist tyres, snow sport instructors to architects, Heathrow and the Department for International Trade are boosting the growth of a unique mix of British goods and services.

“With the ‘World of Opportunity Programme’, we are showing the world the breadth of talent and opportunity from all across the nations and regions of the UK. Demonstrating that, once again, Britain’s gateway is open to business.”

International Trade Minister Mark Garnier said:

“The UK has some of the most innovative and ambitious small businesses that have helped exports increase by 11.4% over the last year. It’s clear the potential to export our goods and services is out there and as an international economic department, we will support businesses through partner schemes like this with Heathrow and our international campaigns including Exporting is GREAT to make the most of opportunities as we leave the EU.”


The ‘World of Opportunity Programme’ is part of a plan to guarantee British businesses benefit from the economic opportunities provided by Heathrow, the UK’s only hub airport.   In addition to this Programme, for the past 20 years Heathrow has run a successful series of Business Summits, giving SMEs the opportunity to engage directly with members of the airport’s supply chain and find out more about the opportunities that exist at the airport and around the world. So far, an estimated £93.4 million of new deals have been won as a result of the partnerships formed at the Summits and 2017 marks the first year where Heathrow’s Business Summits have been rolled out across six UK regions.

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