London Heathrow Airport has commissioned a joint consultation with small business support group Enterprise Nation to investigate the economic impact of its third-runway expansion project on SMEs in the UK.
Starting in February 2016, the study will engage directly with Enterprise Nation’s 65,000-strong small business community to take a close look at London 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 the expansion project, with a particular focus on what can be done to drive SME export growth in line with the government target of more than £1tn (US$1.4tn) of UK exports by 2020. The findings of the report will be announced in April this year.
Emma Jones, founder, 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.”
John Holland-Kaye, CEO for London Heathrow, 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.”