Heathrow and the DIT launch ‘World of Opportunity’ Grant for SMEs

  • For a second year running, Heathrow partners with the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) Exporting is GREAT campaign to launch £40,000 grant, supporting SME exporting ambitions
  • ‘World of Opportunity Programme’ is accepting applications from June 8th until July 6th 2018
  • Last year’s winners used their grants to fund trade missions and foreign market research


For the second year running, Heathrow and the Department for International Trade’s ‘Exporting is GREAT’ campaign are giving a boost to 20 Exporters looking to reach new long-haul markets, for their goods or services.


The ‘World of Opportunity Programme’ will award 20 SMEs with grants worth £2,000 to fund vital trade missions, participation in trade shows or foreign market research. DIT will once again support each winner to help their research and missions and promote the competition. Plaza Premium will also be providing complimentary lounge passes for the winners as they leave Heathrow on their journeys.


A panel of exporting experts including Lord Deighton, Heathrow’s Chairman and Parveen Thornhill, Head of London & Devolved Administrations from DIT will select this year’s winners.


The first ’World of Opportunity Programme‘ received over 290 applications from SMEs across the country and the programme is expected to remain as competitive this year. In order to win one of the coveted 20 grants, successful applicants will be asked to demonstrate why their business is suitable to expand their export capability as well as outline why they have identified their target overseas market.


The ‘World of Opportunity Programme’ is part of Heathrow’s plan to ensure British businesses benefit from the economic opportunities the airport provides as the UK’s only hub airport and the country’s biggest port by value. In addition to this programme, for the past 21 years Heathrow has run a successful series of Business Summits around the country. The summits give SMEs the opportunity to engage directly with members of the airport’s supply chain and find out more about the opportunities that exist at the airport and around the world. As of last year, an estimated £93.4 million of new deals had been won as a result of the partnerships formed at the Summits.


Heathrow Chairman, Lord Deighton said:

“We are delighted to open the World of Opportunity SME Grants Programme for the second year in a row, in partnership with the Department for International Trade and supporting the ‘Exporting is GREAT’ Campaign.

“Last year, we helped a wonderful range of British exporters – from beauty products to specialist tyres and snow sport instructors to architects – from all across the nations and regions of the UK. We helped them explore new markets, progress their exporting ambitions and look forward to helping more SMEs this year. These SMEs are showing the world that the UK is open for business – and I am confident this year’s winners will be just as impressive.”

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said:

“Last year’s World of Opportunity Programme was enormously successful, helping to generate tens of thousands of pounds of business for SMEs from across the UK.

“There is significant demand for UK goods and services across the globe, and my international economic department is here to support businesses of all sizes as they look to seize the wealth of opportunities available.”


Appen Vice President of Language Resources in the UK Sarah Lowe said: 

“Heathrow’s World of Opportunity grant helped to fund trade mission trips to Geneva and Copenhagen, creating new growth opportunities for our business.

“The additional assistance from the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in conjunction with the British Embassies in Switzerland and Denmark significantly helped us to establish new contacts and explore the prospects in these markets. Overseas export can be daunting for small businesses, but the World of Opportunity grant helped to connect us to those opportunities and we’d encourage SMEs across the country to take part.”