The Heathrow Business Summits are unique opportunities for SMEs to connect and trade face to face with Heathrow’s supply chain and connect to growth opportunities locally, nationally and internationally. Heathrow is committed to using its position as a national asset for the benefit of SMEs. As the UK’s hub airport, Heathrow connects businesses up and down the UK to crucial growth markets around the world.

The airport spends over £1.5bn annually with more than 1,200 suppliers from around the UK and there will be more work on the horizon with expansion. Construction of the runway will be the UK's largest infrastructure project and small and medium-sized businesses will be critical to delivering the £16bn investment.

Heathrow has launched a series of commitments to guarantee SME involvement in future work at the airport as well as a competition for a business to win a £5,000 development grant.

The commitments are the latest output from the long-standing collaboration between Heathrow, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Chambers of Commerce across the country, to increase the number of SMEs who benefit directly and indirectly from the economic opportunities provided by the UK’s only hub airport. It is hoped that this current initiative, #SMEptember, will further promote the value SMEs provide to supply chains and trade across the country.

Heathrow's five SME guarantees are:

  1. Develop the successful Heathrow Business Summits across the UK.  These bring together SMEs with Heathrow's procurement team and the airport’s principal suppliers.
  2. As a signatory to the Prompt Payment Code, ensure suppliers are paid on time and ensure this practice flows down through the airports supply chain into SMEs.
  3. Establish a new Innovation Networking Forum to reach out to SMEs and start-up organisations in the innovation and technology sector.
  4. Offer SMEs access to the millions of international passengers at Heathrow, by brokering deals between stockists and World Duty Free and other retail tenants.
  5. Establish a grants programme offering awards up to £2k for SMEs to spend on travel and trade missions to help SMEs reach new markets.