Hillingdon secures half a million to help West London businesses
Hillingdon Council has secured £295,000 grant funding from the London Development Agency towards delivery of a 3-year programme assisting small and medium enterprises to access major local supply chains at Heathrow Airport and within the public sector. The grant application was supported by BAA Heathrow, which will be contributing additional funding to the programme as part of its commitment to optimise Heathrows local benefits, and by the boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced the funding as part of £29million of European Union funds that will support 11,000 small businesses in London, create 1,100 jobs and safeguard a further 2,700.
Cllr Douglas Mills, Cabinet Member for Improvements and Partnerships commented: This project is vital to support West Londons businesses and never has the need for such a stimulus been so great. Small businesses are critical to Hillingdons success and play a significant role in our dynamic, active and vibrant economy. More importantly the firms supported through this funding are going to be the capitals springboard to economic growth and prosperity once the upturn arrives. Hillingdon has done well to secure this funding on behalf of West London. We are particularly proud that the sheer hard work and determination of our officers has ensured that Heathrow Area Supply Chains looks set to be the first of the 2009 European Regional Development Fund programmes to start delivery in London.
Heathrow Area Supply Chains will build on the success of the annual BAA Heathrow Meet the Buyers, which is now the biggest supplier/buyer matchmaking scheme in the UK. Since it began in 1997, the event has generated an estimated £75 million in local trade whilst also widening access to public sector procurement opportunities within the London boroughs closest to the airport: Ealing, Hillingdon & Hounslow.
Matt Gorman, BAA Heathrows Corporate Responsibility and Environment Director, said, We are delighted to be working in partnership with Hillingdon and other local authorities on a programme that will provide practical support for local businesses at a time of real need. It is important that businesses around Heathrow are able to access the substantial supply chain opportunities created by the airports operation and development. That principle has underpinned the Heathrow Meet the Buyers event for the last 12 years. The funding secured by Hillingdon will allow even more companies to benefit over the next three years.
The project aims in particular to increase the ability of local small and medium enterprises to effectively market their products and services in order for them to tender for contracts within major local supply chains. This is a need that has clearly been identified by local business networks such as the Hillingdon Chamber of Commerce and through specific consultation with the local business community through the 2009 West London Business Sentiments Survey.
A series of local events on understanding airport, public sector and construction procurement start from 28th Sept in Hillingdon. The 2009 Heathrow Meet the Buyer event has been confirmed for 17th & 18th November at the Terminal 5 Sofitel. For further information on the Heathrow Area Supply Chains programme see www.heathrowsupplychains.com.