Heathrow Airport is set to explore the impact of expansion on Britain’s booming SME sector via a detailed joint consultation with small business support group Enterprise Nation.
Expanding Heathrow is a massive opportunity for all of the UK’s businesses – from the largest right down to the smallest. With 40 new long-haul routes to fast-growing markets and improved domestic connectivity, expansion will enhance the UK’s productivity and drive growth by boosting exports.
Starting in February, the study will engage directly with Enterprise Nation’s 65,000-strong small business community and beyond to take a close look at Heathrow’s expansion plans and how they could potentially work to provide economic benefit for SMEs.
The consultation findings will be used to develop an SME growth strategy within Heathrow’s expansion plans, with a particular focus on what can be done to drive SME export growth in line with the Government target of over £1 trillion of UK exports by 2020.
Heathrow is already the UK’s largest port by value, with the fastest growing export markets are located in Asia and South America. Last year alone, annual exports to China via Heathrow stood at £7.6 billion and were up by 117% year-on-year.
Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation said:
“Exploring ways to make exporting more accessible and achievable for small firms is a key focus for us this year. We see firms all the time that are exporting all over the world – sometimes directly from their kitchen table.
“What will be fascinating to explore will be how they feel about growth, what they need to take their business to the next level and how intervention and support can be tailored to boost their existing export capacity to drive that growth.
“A quarter of all UK exports by value already travel through the airport. It will be interesting to see how an expanded Heathrow could make a real difference at a time when more people than ever before are starting and growing businesses.”
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:
“SMEs are the backbone of the British economy and when they export they flourish. For small exporters, that starts with a box on a plane – usually from Heathrow. With expansion we’ll open up 40 new long-haul trading links and improve domestic connectivity – making it cheaper and more efficient for SMEs to sell their products in fast growing markets around the world.
“I’m delighted that Enterprise Nation and small businesses across the country will be looking at our expansion plans and I’m excited to hear their ideas on what more we can be doing to help them grow.”
The findings are set to be announced in April.
Enterprise Nation will be encouraging SMEs across the UK to share their thoughts on how Heathrow’s expansion plans might work better for them via the #goglobal campaign.