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Published on : Friday, November 15, 2013
Heathrow has opened its doors to 150 SMEs bidding for contracts with the UK’s only hub airport. The move coincides with UKTI’s export week, which shines the spot-light on the difficulty of SMEs accessing international markets.
Organised in conjunction with UKTI, the summit aims to help SMEs access the procurement systems of large companies through a speed-dating style day of interviews with Heathrow’s procurement team. Successful SMEs then have the opportunity to use the airport’s international presence to project their brand globally.
John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s Development Director, said: ‘We are encouraged to see so many SMEs attend the summit and take advantage of the opportunities available to them. Heathrow is the UK’s gateway to the world and plays a pivotal role in connecting SMEs with local, national and international markets. Over 320 businesses operate on the airport and many more, including two thirds of the UK’s top 300 companies, have set up close by to benefit from the airport’s operations.’
One SME that has benefitted from the international links provided by the airport is Andromeda Electrics who first got a contract to provide energy efficient lighting for Terminal 5 in 2004. From 12 employees in 2004, the company now has more than 80 staff and has attracted the attention of Schneider Electric who recently bought the company. Using Terminal 5 as a stepping stone to international markets, the company is now an internationally recognised brand, working throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America.
Graham Boeler, CEO for Andromeda said ‘Having a contract with Heathrow has given clients the confidence that we can complete the very highest profile, technically challenging, projects. It’s allowed us to grow to such an extent that we have become the world’s number one in the field of intelligent lighting control.’Also in attendance at the Summit was SME Ambassador for London, Mary Macleod, who told delegates: ‘Heathrow plays an important role in the local and national economy.
It is encouraging to see such a large company welcome SMEs into its business and help local entrepreneurs grow their company alongside the airport. I hope that the success of Heathrow’s example will encourage other companies to accommodate SMEs in a similar way. ’The not-for-profit Summit was conceived 17 years ago in recognition of the central role that Heathrow plays in connecting SMEs with new business opportunities through its own supply chain, around the airport and across the world.