British airways AED 6.5 million worth of business class travel
30 UAE firms win Business Opportunity Grants.
June 16, 2010 1:24 by Rasha Reslan
Dubai, UAE. 16 June, 2010: British Airways has announced the winners of the British Airways Business Opportunity Grants in the UAE, an initiative which is part of the airline’s commitment to keep entrepreneurship alive and to help stimulate local business.
From almost three hundred companies that applied, British Airways has awarded Business Opportunity Grants to 30 small- and medium-sized UAE enterprises. Each winning business receives a year’s worth of travel to help stimulate growth and seek out new opportunities. The winning companies have each been awarded 10 return flights on British Airways Club World (business class), the total value of which is around AED 6.5 million.
Paolo De Renzis, British Airways’ area commercial manager, Middle East, commented, “We have had a terrific response to the initiative, proving that there is a real desire and need for business travel. British Airways is in the business of connecting people, and we know that the key to building successful long-term business partnerships is through face-to-face meetings. Our hope is that the Opportunity Grants really help these businesses open doors, forge stronger partnerships, and increase their revenues.”
With the global economy seeing more than 56% of travel budgets slashed last year, the Business Opportunity Grants offer a lifeline to SMEs who want the opportunity to grow their business and travel overseas to conduct crucial face-to-face business meetings. Whether it’s a sit-down appointment with a potential client, buyer, investor or a check-in on an office that has not been visited because of budget cuts, the initiative is designed to help budget-conscious businesses get where they need to go, physically and financially.
Markus Thesleff, co-founder of luxury Japanese restaurant Okku, commented, “We are delighted to have won the Business Opportunities Grant. It has been a difficult year for businesses of all sizes; however SMEs have been hit the hardest. British Airways has given us the opportunity to travel for invaluable face to face meetings, allowing us to nurture current relationships and to try and break new frontiers with our business. This initiative has been greatly welcomed by the whole of the UAE’s SME community.”
British Airways invited companies with 250 employees or less to log on to www.ba.com/uae-grants, to state their business objectives in 2010 and how a British Airways Business Opportunity Grant would benefit their organization. A judging panel made up of BA executives and independent judges then selected the most be-fitting and original winning entries from nearly 300 eligible online submissions.