Click on each success story to discover their experience.


SME Success Stories


Carl McFarlane - SmartDrive Systems

SmartDrive gives airside and airport service fleet operators unprecedented driving performance insights and analysis, helping prevent collisions, improve safety and save fuel, expenses and lives. Its video analysis, predictive analytics and personalised performance programme helps operators improve driving skills, comply with airside regulations and lower operating costs. It also aids compliance and provides a competitive edge when tendering for contracts.

Carl attended his first Heathrow Business Summit in 2016, he succeeded with 6 pre-booked appointments with his preferred choice of buyers, so attended the event prepared to engage, network and promote the company services direct to Heathrow’s supply chain.

“SmartDrive already works with established airport contractors, such as OmniServ, not only at Heathrow but also Gatwick, London City, Edinburgh and Liverpool airports, so this event was my opportunity to build on our success at Heathrow Airport.

I had very productive meetings on the day and worked hard to follow up on the positive opportunities immediately. Since attending the Heathrow Business Summit we now provide a next generation video based driver risk management solution to Babcock Airports Ltd airside.”

Carl will be attending a number of the Heathrow Business Summits again this year, to engage with new opportunities to strengthen SmartDrive’s penetration across UK airports. Currently SmartDrive employs over 650 people worldwide and to date has captured and analysed over 195 million risky driving events.

To learn more about SmartDrive Systems visit


Lindsay Betton - Beechleigh Promotions Ltd

Beechleigh Promotions is a promotional merchandise consultancy, working globally to provide promotional products and clothing that is innovative, fresh and sure to leave the right impression. With a database of millions of products and a wealth of knowledge and experience within the company, they will work to find a selection of promotional products suitable for your branding, fit for purpose and that will ensure you leave the right lasting impression.

“We attended the Heathrow Business Summit for the first time in 2016 to promote our corporate merchandise. The Summit was a great opportunity not only to meet new contacts but also a big learning curve understanding the requirements within the aviation industry. There was a great atmosphere on the day with appointments between buyers and suppliers every 15mins, and opportunities to network and engage with others SMEs as well as Heathrow’s supporting partners.”

Beechleigh Promotions have a dedicated sales team who assist you finding the best promotional items at the best possible price to save your time, as well as being able to advise you of any new promotional gifts to the market ensuring that your branded merchandise stands out from the crowd, ensuring maximum brand awareness.

“I had six pre-booked appointments confirmed before the event so I was able to research the buyers and fully prepare to meet them. My first appointment was with Aviation Business Continuity, a baggage logistics company which turned out to be a real success and a great boost of confidence for further appointments on the day. I also had a productive meeting through networking with other SMEs, including a local large hotel the Leonardo Hotel on Bath Road. Following the Business Summit, I remained in touch with our new contacts and was successful wining new business orders for items including branded sunglasses, lanyards, conference note pads and pens, children activity sets, mini earphones and branded plastic cups.”

After delivering the first initial orders, both clients have shared great feedback on their service, delivery and product quality and have now placed further orders for other ongoing projects.

“The event is accessible for all SMEs, there are great business opportunities to be had – I shall certainly be returning.”

Further information about Beechleigh Promotions can be found here


Michele Franke - Leonardo Hotel London Heathrow Airport

Leonardo Hotels operates more than 90 hotels in over 40 destinations across Europe and Israel and is currently continuing its expansion. The 4Star Leonardo Hotel London Heathrow is the first of the brand in the UK, boasting 230 rooms, located on Bath Road and the closest hotel to Heathrow Airport Terminals 2 and 3.

“We attended the Heathrow Business Summit for the first time in 2015 shortly after Leonardo Hotel opened its doors. The Summit gave an excellent insight into the number of companies operating at Heathrow. One of our main objectives was to gain new business but we also welcomed the opportunity to learn more about Heathrow in general and its current projects and perspectives.”

Michele had six appointments confirmed before the event so was able to research the buyers and fully prepare to meet them. On the day of the event, Michele took advantage of the spare appointments board to pick-up extra appointments in between the networking opportunities with other SMEs.

“The whole experience was really interesting and beneficial enabling us to use our time very efficiently. Businesses were also happy to talk without a pre- arranged appointment which made our time coming to the Summit very worthwhile. We also had the chance to meet with Heathrow’s key partners including Ealing Borough Council and discuss potential work together.”

Since the Heathrow Business Summit Michele followed-up with her new contacts and has since awarded new business to another SME she met on the day, Beechleigh Promotions; who supply branded merchandise products to enhance brand awareness. After Michele’s initial order, she was very impressed with the service and has since made three additional new orders with Beechleigh Promotions. They now have a strong working partnership and Michele highly recommends their services.

“The Heathrow Business Summit is a great way of meeting so many new businesses who have a need for our services and there's no other way you could have so many face to face meetings in a single day. We will definitely come back this year again.”


Trueform Engineering Ltd

Trueform are the UK’s leading hardware solution providers to the public transportation industry. Based in Hillingdon they have provided passenger infrastructure to the leading PTE’s and TOC’s, including bespoke solutions to all major schemes in the UK and many throughout the USA and Canada. Trueform specialise in the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of passenger infrastructure, including shelters, stops, digital signage and display systems, wayfinding, real time information and solar power.

Representatives from Trueform Engineering Ltd attended the Heathrow Business Summit in 2016 for the first time. They had two pre-booked appointments ahead of the event and were able to gain extra appointments with Heathrow's supply chain on the day.

One of their additional appointments was a 15min face to face meeting with Richard Miles, Commercial Director of Mace.

Mace have provided construction, management and consultancy services to most of the UK’s airports – and plenty more around the world – driving innovation, efficiency and value into every aviation project.

Mace operate a tiered supply chain, which is prequalified in terms of health and safety, financial strength and delivery ability. Over 80% of their current supply chain are small to medium sized enterprises. Richard shares

“Each year we make great new contacts with SMEs at the Heathrow Business Summits. Following the success of last year’s event we have awarded new business to Trueform Engineering Ltd. Once prequalification was approved, opportunities to quote for work was offered and a small test project was awarded for 4 months work. This is a great starting pointing and we hope to award more contracts to SMEs as development opportunities arise at Heathrow.”


Michael Keane - AJAR-tec Ltd.

AJAR-tec have gained over 50 years’ experience in the technology industry working with leading edge technologies on a daily basis, and have become established experts in digital and IP solutions of small and enterprise capabilities and are head quartered in West London.

“We attended the event for the first time last year and I believed this would be a great way to promote our business services to expand our footprint across the airport. Registration was straight forward and easy to do, I secured 6 pre-booked appointments with buyers. The event day itself was interesting and a good insight into the number of companies competing for business at Heathrow.”

In between appointments, Michael networked with other SMEs and exhibitors, and also attended the UK Trade and Investment Hub truck to learn more about the supporting opportunities with UKTI. AJAR-tec have been on Heathrow’s supply chain for 4 years, working directly for Heathrow, also with Computacenter, JCDecaux, Capgemini, Atkins and SITA also previously NG Bailey. After the event all follow up was undertaken by Michael.
“We have been very fortunate with new business won with SITA on a support services contract, further new business won with Capgemini. The works include consultancy works, supply of hardware and software, maintenance and support services. It has been very significant for us, as it has given us new business in smaller consecutive projects as well as support contracts. We understand that everything is about the passenger experience and servicing the Airlines. We want to remain part of the Heathrow ecosystem for as long as we possibly can in the future.”

AJAR-tec have 30 full time employees that scales upwards to 150 as and when their projects require.

“Go with an open mind. It may be more of an intelligence gathering exercise rather than going home at the end of the day with new business. The intelligence is valuable as you can pursue this in the best way possible post event.”


Adrian Duffy, Manager - Technical Division, Cavendish Professionals

Cavendish Professionals is multidisciplinary recruitment company specialising in contract and permanent staffing for the construction and engineering sector based in Hammersmith, employing a team of 25.

“Last year was our first experience of attending the Heathrow Business Summit. The whole booking process was very smooth, registering, selecting and being allocated our pre-booked appointments. Our marketing department was quite busy leading up to the event, as we wanted to put together some branded items to leave with everyone.”

Adrian had eight appointments confirmed before the event so was able to research the buyers and fully prepare to meet them. On the day of the event, Adrian took advantage of the spare appointments board to pick-up extra appointments in between attending the workshops and networking opportunities.

“As you do, we followed up with every company we met. We are happy that we are still in contact with at least 3 of them and we are now contracted to Dyer & Butler as one of their preferred suppliers. A great result for us! We have employed 2 more staff member to focus more on the UK market – including the Dyer & Butler contract and we are in the process of securing 2 more UK contracts as we are able to evidence our UK experience more as we are working with more UK clients.”

Cavendish Professionals are now a member of the ‘Preferred Suppliers List’ for recruitment agencies working for Dyer & Butler. They help them find permanent engineering and construction staffing for the projects and Heathrow Airport, as well as their road and rail maintenance and upgrade projects across the UK. Adrian share’s his advice for other SMEs considering attending the Business Summit.

“Be prepared to present your company as best you can. This is a real chance to sit down, face to face with companies that you want to work with and a golden opportunity to get your company noticed. Think about why they should be doing business with you and what you have to offer. Be ready to delivery 8-10 sales pitches in short succession.”


Denise Quinlan - Insightful Images

Insightful Images is a boutique business-focused photography service, based in Chiswick. This was Denise’s’ first time to the Heathrow Business Summit, having heard about the event through West London Business, Denise was keen to sign-up and promote her new business.

“On the day of the event I met some very enthusiastic procurement staff who were super helpful with where they thought I would most likely be able to get opportunities within their companies and the names of the contacts. Having selected 6 companies, I picked up an additional 5 appointments on the day, so gained a healthy 11 meeting opportunities that would otherwise have taken a huge amount of time and resource to achieve.”

In between appointments, Denise managed the rest of her time networking and building new partnerships and attended the Cyber Crime seminar courtesy of the Met Police. Denise also took up the invite to attend the Stakeholder reception with Ian Ballentine, Procurement Director at Heathrow, and Joanne Freeman, Deputy Regional Director for UKTI, which provided other opportunities to meet and talk with other delegates and UKTI representatives, as well as gain some good context and insights into life at Heathrow and beyond.

Denise met with Tom Brooks, Enterprise and Support Officer, Hounslow Borough Council and made a great impression – by successfully winning her first contract the following day to photograph the Small Business Saturday Business that took place on 20 November 2015 – only 9 days after the Business Summit!

“I’ve also been actively following up other leads from the event too. So for me the Heathrow Business Summit has been a great success and for local business all round. It’s been fabulous to see what comes of exploring different events and just getting yourself out there.

A big ‘thank you’ to the Heathrow team!”


Richard Freemantle - RL Freemantle Electrical Ltd

RL Freemantle Electrical Ltd provide cutting edge Mechanical & Electrical services, through from a design concept to total delivery, and maintenance packages through the life cycle process.

Specialising in reactive maintenance, confined space working and contract works on various projects both Landside and Airside and also externally to Heathrow Airport.

“Having met with prospective buyers and new clients at the Heathrow Business Summit, we continued to make contact with them after the event. This set up the relationship to enable us to secure future business and look at the service that we could provide to them. We were also able to meet new suppliers to Freemantle who offered competitive rates to that of some of our existing suppliers.”

Freemantle successfully secured additional business with two new clients, London Borough of Hillingdon and Connect plus Services who are working in Partnership with Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering. Freemantle have won an initial contract with Connectplus25 at Dartford Tunnel to install an automated test and reporting LED lighting system plus tender for a HV survey, a CCTV survey and new installation of a leaky feeder / antenna system that we have now been awarded.

“The experience also increased our knowledge of what we need to do to attain the next professional level and to enable us to further expand provision of our services. As Tier 2 suppliers we do have to work very hard to continue the business momentum, we have a great team behind the company and combined with continued training and development together with always looking to be more efficient ensures we always deliver a first class service to our clients. We have employed additional local electricians due to the increase in new business.”

“Working on Heathrow specific contracts means we also deliver work to very exacting and high standards, this in turn has meant we deliver the same consistently high standards with works Freemantle undertake outside of Heathrow Airport and this has impressed our external clients and led to Freemantle winning further works. Be brave, be proud and show what your company is capable of, you will be surprised who wants to know.”

RL Freemantle have since been approved as a key business at Heathrow and this year will be exhibiting their own procurement opportunities to SMEs.


Exporting Success Stories


Tacit Sims

Tacit Sims designs and develops educational software used by colleges, universities, and companies in several countries in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Heathrow and Department for International Trade worked together to support Tacit Sims’ visit to the GET China 2017 trade show in Beijing.

Micropore Technology

Micropore Technology designs and produces machinery for making particles and emulsions. Heathrow’s £2,000 World of Opportunity grant, in partnership with the Department for International Trade, enabled Micropore to attend a DIT Northern Powerhouse trade mission to Boston in November 2017.


Durbin sources and distributes pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and consumable supplies to healthcare professionals in over 180 countries. Heathrow funded a trip to the Global Disaster Relief Summit in September 2017 in partnership with DIT, which led to Durbin winning a new contract with a US firm.



“A great opportunity to meet and engage with a number of potential clients in one day.”
Pasquale Vacirca, Director, Pasquale Vacirca Consulting Ltd (SME)

“It's a great way of meeting so many new businesses who have a need for our services and there's no other way you could have so many face to face meetings in a single day!”
Maria Costas-Awad, Director, ImageStor (SME)


“Good opportunity to meet with contacts who are normally difficult to see.”
Craig Barrack, Director, Carbon Heroes Ltd (SME)


“Opportunity to meet potential new clients and it raised our profile.”
David Marshall, Senior Consultant, MaST International Group Ltd (SME)


“Some great services that we wouldn't have normally considered have approached us.”
Paul Connolly, Head of Airport Services, APCOA Parking (Heathrow Supply Chain)

“The event is a very worthwhile day out for all concerned, supporting our client's initiative to engage with local and different suppliers and networking with a wider Airport community. We take several members of our team to this event to give them a bigger picture of the Airport and its function.”
Linda Ballantyne, PA to Head of Airports, Senior Team Co-ordinator, UK Power Network Services (Heathrow Supply Chain)