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Thousands of businesses across the UK rely on Heathrow’s route network for getting their goods and services to key trading partners, which in turn provides the jobs and economic opportunities needed to level up their companies and their local economies.
In our Global Britain Business Champions competition, we spoke to SMEs and invited MPs to nominate enterprising businesses in their constituencies who export their goods around the world through Heathrow, the UK’s only hub airport. After numerous entries from across the UK, we are happy to unveil our 10 Global Britain Business Champions. These business demonstrate the best of British quality, innovation, technology or design, and have helped keep the country trading over the past year. The winning businesses will be promoted around the airport and online, celebrating their role in helping Global Britain ‘level up’.
As the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow plays a crucial role in supporting businesses from across the UK to trade. Research conducted by CEBR this year shows the value of trade going through Heathrow in 2019 stood at approximately £188 billion – more than a 5th of all UK trade by value. CEBR forecast that by 2025 this could grow to over £204 billion, creating economic opportunities that are key to achieving the Government’s own Global Britain ambitions and levelling up goals – as long as Britain’s vital trade links are restored and strengthened post-pandemic.
This boost has the potential to impact every part of the UK. Regions with a strong manufacturing base, such as the Midlands and North East, are likely to benefit most from future trade agreements with fast growing economies around the world. Scotland and Wales would see increased trade in agriculture, forestry and fishing. Our 10 Global Britain Business Champions represent the best of British; from County Down to Farnborough, from Scotland to Snowdonia. You can read more about the 10 businesses below.
Carabarlife is a Barrow-in-Furness-based company specialising in the design, manufacture and supply of no-spill glass and drinks holders for the outdoor leisure market. Founded in 2019 to produce boat and caravan bars, Carabarlife has since expanded its range of products to include no spill bars for motorhomes, hot tubs, pools, gardens and hotels, diversifying its portfolio and making it more resilient in a post-COVID world.
The company’s success was recognised by local MP, Simon Fell in a public blog as well as achieving regional acclaim, receiving a runner-up award in the Best New Business category at the 2020 In-Cumbria Business Awards.
Carabarlife exports its products globally through Heathrow, with plans to expand further into America. The speed of air freight via Heathrow is vital to ensure Carabarlife’s products reach customers around the world quickly and safely. Like many businesses, they also value international travel as a way to meet potential suppliers and resellers.
Carabarlife commented on this win; “As Carabarlife expands globally our need to access overseas markets has never been more important and we are delighted Carabarlife has been selected as one of the winners by Heathrow Airport for the 'Global Britain Business Champion' award.
This is a great milestone for the company and we see this as a true stepping stone for the next stage in our International expansion.”
Premier Packaging Solutions is a packaging manufacturer based in County Down, Northern Ireland. The company designs and produces both plain and bespoke printed packaging for businesses in the baking, catering, gift, wedding and corporate event industries. Its customers include Michelin-starred restaurants, patisseries like Peggy Porschen and luxury retailers such as Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.
Premier Packaging Solutions completes the whole production process in-house, from design to manufacture. They use eco-friendly and sustainable materials, sourced locally to reduce the products’ carbon footprint and plastic usage.
The company exports primarily through air freight, and uses Heathrow’s extensive route network to reach customers in over 33 countries, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand, as well as fulfilling domestic orders in regions around the UK. The list of destinations is only expected to increase with ongoing enquiries. They use air freight to ensure their luxury packaging arrives at their destination quickly and undamaged, helping maintain the company’s excellent reputation for bespoke and premium products.
Premier Packaging Solutions was a World of Opportunity winner in 2018, a joint initiative between Heathrow and the Department for International Trade to support SMEs’ exporting ambitions with grant funding. Heathrow is pleased to see their continued growth over time and value they contribute to the sector, made possible by their ambition and quality of service.
Premier Packaging commented on this win; “At Premier Packaging Solutions we are delighted to be awarded Global British Business Champion 2021 by Heathrow Airport. Having previously been awarded winner of Heathrow’s World of Opportunity programme in 2018 it has helped us further develop our exports worldwide to 34 countries and counting.
Heathrow has been crucial to our business not only for our growing exports but also for transporting goods from NI to GB and facilitating our customers businesses to continue to trade during the pandemic. The trade link Heathrow provides has helped grow our manufacturing business and we are proud to have supported other businesses growth. On behalf of ourselves and all our customers, Thank you Heathrow!”
Founded in North Wales in 2001, Snowdonia Cheese Company is a family business run by the sons of third-generation dairy farmers. It uses fresh and natural ingredients to produce a premium range of waxed cheeses and traditionally made chutneys of exceptional quality and flavour.
Snowdonia exports to over 25 countries via Heathrow, including Hong Kong and Singapore. Given the company’s production of perishable foods, air freight via a well-connected hub airport such as Heathrow is by far the best distribution option for the company, as it allows the business to transport these time-critical and temperature-sensitive goods to international markets quickly. Snowdonia also relies on Heathrow to provide business travel, essential to developing new customer relationships.
Snowdonia Cheese Company has won multiple awards for its products since launching its first cheese, its signature Black Bomber extra mature Cheddar. It has been named the “Best British Cheese Brand” in the Fine Food Digest’s Best Brands survey six times, and has also been recognised with multiple other international awards. In 2021, the company received The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade, in recognition of its six-fold growth in overseas sales over the last six years.
Richard Newton-Jones, Commercial Director at Snowdonia Cheese Company, says: “We’re very proud to have been selected as Heathrow Global Britain Business Champions. Snowdonia Cheese is a family business, producing a premium range of waxed cheeses and traditionally made chutneys which we now sell to more than 25 countries around the world. Exporting through Heathrow gives us an unrivalled global reach and ensures our products reach far-flung destinations quickly while remaining as fresh and delicious as ever.”
Coltraco is a manufacturer of ultrasonic safety instruments, based in the South West, with offices in London and Durham. The family-run company was established in 1987, when it designed its first product, Portalevel®, an ultrasonic liquid level indicator.
Today, the business boasts an extensive range of portable inspection devices that focus on liquid level indication, seal integrity, flow rate monitoring, thickness gauging, and bearing indication. Coltraco products have been used by the Royal Navy, US Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, BAE Systems, Babcocks and Trescal (Rolls-Royce). The company has since been recognised with many industry awards, including Safety at Sea Awards, Seatrade Maritime Awards and The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: International Trade.
Heathrow carries the majority of Coltraco’s product shipment, with more than 90 per cent of its products flown to 125 different countries around the world via the airport. The specialist and delicate nature of its equipment means it needs to be exported quickly and securely, with minimal days lost in transit – making Heathrow the ideal export partner.
Coltraco has commented on this win; “We are delighted to have been picked as a Heathrow Airport’s Global Britain Business Champion. For the past 30 years we have flown globally around the 120 countries that we operate within, and Heathrow Airport has been at its centre for our high-exporting, advanced manufacturing company.
Exporting is at the centre of our company and we won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in international trade for 6 years continuous growth . We export 89% of our output to 120 countries and Asia-Pacific accounts for 40% of our exports overall. Our Chairman received the Lifetime Exporting Achievement Award from the Chief Executive of UK Export Finance last year and received his OBE for services to business and international trade in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2019. With our global focus, airfreight is at the heart of our ability to provide outstanding customer service internationally.
We choose to airfreight our instrumentation and systems so that our customers can benefit from reliable and prompt door-to-door delivery of their orders. Within some industries that we work, such as the maritime, delivery of instrumentation and systems can be required to be fulfilled within 1-2 days. Airfreight and Heathrow Airport enable us to fulfil these requirements”
Ormiston Wire Limited was founded in 1793 by James Ormiston and continues to be run today by one of his descendants. The company evolved from making spring-wire for corsets and wigs in the City of London, to manufacturing almost any type of wire in its facilities in West London and the Midlands. The diversity of end uses of its products ranges from delicate surgical sutures to special effects applications for the film industry.
Ormiston Wire supplies its products to marine, suspension, military and art industries and count prestigious projects, such as an umbrella installation in Heathrow Airport, as part of its portfolio.
The company exports worldwide to Australia, Africa, the US and Europe. Located in West London, Heathrow is very much on its doorstep. Given many of Ormiston’s specialist products are lightweight, they find that air freight through Heathrow is the most cost-effective and reliable form of transport to reach their international customers, particularly where they are needed urgently or as part of a wider supply chain.
Ormiston Wire commented on this win; “As an old established specialist manufacturer we are extremely pleased to win this prestigious award. Because most of our exports are light weight but relatively high value airfreight is the obvious way of getting them to our customers as quickly as possible. Heathrow being on our doorstep is the logical airport to use.”
Sonardyne designs and manufactures maritime technologies and systems for the offshore energy, defence and science sectors. Its products are used to navigate, position, communicate, image and understand the underwater environment.
The company was founded as an underwater acoustics consultancy in 1971 and has since grown to include sonar imaging, optical communications, Doppler and inertial navigation in its portfolio. Sonardyne technology has been used in the polar research vessel, RRS Sir David Attenborough, among others, while its system to track ocean floor movement has been recognised with The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation in 2021.
Sonardyne exports to between 20-50 countries a year mainly using air transport via Heathrow to get its equipment to a number of international locations. The company has found that airfreight is the best and safest way to export the expensive equipment it produces, especially when their customers are under pressure from tight commercial or operational deadlines.
Graham Brown, Managing Director of Sonardyne commented; “We are delighted to be named as one of the winners of Heathrow's Global Britain Business Champions competition. Heathrow is on the doorstop of our global HQ and is connected to all the destinations that we need to serve, making it a perfect hub for our people and products to pass through.
Although we’re a marine technology company, aviation is essential to our business. We export almost all the equipment we manufacture and Heathrow is an critical link in our global operations, ensuring that we are responsive and agile to our customer needs. It’s a link that positively impacts the lives of millions of people across the globe and protects UK employment.”
Redcar-based Micropore Technologies was established in 2003 and specialises in supporting other businesses in the development of their formulations and emulsions. Its technology is applied across a range of industries including food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and household products.
Micropore has won numerous industry awards, including the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition in 2018 and first prizes in both the Pharma and Innovative Product categories of the Institution of Chemical Engineers’ global awards in 2019.
Micropore exports to around 30 countries all via air freight. Heathrow is an ideal partner for Micropore since its products are small but of high value, and air freight can provide customers with fast, secure delivery times that most shipping cannot deliver. Micropore is located close to Teesside airport, making use of Heathrow’s direct regional connectivity with the airport and giving the business access to customers around the globe.
Micropore was a World of Opportunity winner in 2017, a joint initiative between Heathrow and the Department for International Trade to support SMEs’ exporting ambitions with grant funding. Heathrow is pleased to see their continued growth over time and value they contribute to the sector, made possible by their ambition and quality of service.
Micropore commented on this win; “Micropore Technologies Ltd has long targeted its growth strategy towards export markets. We were a Heathrow World of Opportunity winner in 2017 as we began our export push. Heathrow was helpful as a global hub then and is of even greater importance today in the supply of our technologies that help simplify and speed up the manufacture of mRNA vaccines.
A long-established subsidiary in the USA and a more recent one in India together with agencies in Japan and South Korea mean that Micropore needs good international passenger connections to be able to meet customers and good international freight connections to supply goods to those global customers from our UK manufacturing base in the North East. Heathrow, with its connections to Teesside and Newcastle airports fulfils both these needs with the necessary skills and customer service.”
Reza Wood Designs is a family-run Scottish woodcraft and furniture company founded in 2014 that specialises in whisky barrel furniture, gifts and accessories all made from the recycled Oak Scotch Whisky Barrels.
All its products are designed and made by the company’s owners in a woodworking studio at the foot of the Campsie Fells just outside Glasgow in Scotland. Reza Wood’s recent projects include whisky tasting trays for Clydeside Distillery and the 2014 Commonwealth Games Quaichs, Podiums and Medal trays. The company’s whisky barrel pen was awarded the runner-up title in The Best Product Award category at Scotland's Trade Fairs in 2015 and the company was a finalist in the East Dunbartonshire Business Awards, Eco-Friendly category, in 2019.
Reza Wood exports regularly through Heathrow so its customers in the US, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Australia can receive their orders quickly and safely. It is also looking to use Heathrow as the business expands into Asia and Pacific markets.
Reza Wood was a World of Opportunity winner in 2018, a joint initiative between Heathrow and the Department for International Trade to support SMEs’ exporting ambitions through grant funding. Heathrow is pleased to see their continued growth over time and value they contribute to the sector, made possible by their ambition and quality of service.
Reza Wood commented on this win; “We're delighted to have been selected as Global Britain Business Champions, since we won Heathrow Airport's World of Opportunity in 2018 we've had the opportunity to reach new markets, create new products and take our business to the next level. Being able to offer fast delivery is vital to our success and that's why Heathrow airport is so important to us and our customers”
myenergi was founded in 2016 with the aim of optimising renewable energy use at home. Its range of energy control products was designed to maximise consumption from solar and wind power and includes a water heater controller, a remote wireless sensor, an electric vehicle charger and thermal storage management.
The East Midlands company has grown significantly since its inception, from a team of just six in 2016 to a workforce of more than 200 today. Myenergi has received numerous accolades and its founders were shortlisted as regional finalists for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards in 2021.
Myenergi currently exports across Norway, Australia, France, Italy, Ireland, Sweden and New Zealand. As a global business, it relies on Heathrow for the transportation of many of its goods, such as installers, as well enabling its workforce to keep connected to its international subsidiaries and liaising with an ever-increasing customer base. This is vital for building company relations and being able to operate across multiple different geographies.
Jordan Brompton, co-founder and CMO of myenergi, commented: “It’s a real honour to be named as one of the winners of Heathrow's Global Britain Business Champions competition.
“As a global leader in the design and manufacture of eco-smart home energy technologies, we’re headquartered in Lincolnshire, but have subsidiaries all over the world. As such, multimodal logistics solutions – including aviation – are hugely important. What’s more, being connected to our subsidiaries via a short flight is essential to ensure the smooth running of our day-to-day operations.”
Angloco Ltd has been designing and building special purpose firefighting and rescue vehicles for over 50 years. The majority of their products are specially designed and custom-built for each customer, according to their individual requirements.
Angloco has exported products to over 70 countries worldwide and supports the vehicles throughout their lifetime with a team of global service engineers. Through Heathrow, Angloco can transport its team of engineers to where they are needed anywhere around the world. As these are emergency vehicles, maintenance needs to happen on a precise schedule so that Angloco’s firefighting vehicles are ready to go at a moment’s notice. Having a well-connected and often direct transport link to its customers is not only vital for the business, but for the communities and livelihoods that its equipment protects.
The company supports industry efforts to increase exports and has even seconded a sector specialist to the Department for International Trade.
Alistair Brown, Managing Director of Angloco says; “Angloco are delighted to have been selected as a winner of Heathrow Airport’s Global Britain Business Champions award. We are active globally, and this recognition for our highly skilled work force and quality product is hugely appreciated following a challenging time for British Manufacturing.
Heathrow Airport offers a gateway not only to airfreight urgent spare parts but for our teams to visit customers to provide essential maintenance and training. This support of our fire fighting vehicles and equipment means that these fire and rescue services can continue to save lives around the world”.
Heathrow has played a crucial role as Britain’s front door over the last 75 years. Over the decades, the thousands of companies operating in and around the airport have built Heathrow up to become the UK’s only hub airport. Enabling our airport to compete with other major hub airports in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dubai and Turkey.
Hub airports work to create economies of scale by pooling demand from passengers travelling directly to their destinations, connecting passengers and freight. Cargo is a vital piece of this puzzle as it helps to keep the airport’s route network diverse by keeping more routes commercially viable. Normally, 95% of air freight at the airport is carried in the belly-hold of passenger aircraft. While 90% of the UK’s trade by volume is transported by sea, high value goods are transported by air. That means luxury British goods could be right under your feet as you jet off on your next holiday. Heathrow is the UK’s largest port by value, accounting for over a fifth (21%) of UK trade in goods by value.
New research published by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has uncovered the role Heathrow will play in providing a much-needed trade boost to help the UK recover after the effects of Covid-19, and help deliver the Government’s vision to build a Global Britain.
Heathrow’s role in facilitating trade and travel to valuable new markets in the US and Pacific, will mean £204 billion worth of cargo is projected to pass through the airport by 2025 (up from £188 billion in 2019). The benefits of this boost will be felt throughout the country, by the many British companies that rely on Heathrow’s connections to reach markets across the world.
This research reaffirms the importance of the global hub airport model to the UK, which is not only benefits passengers looking to fly to more destinations, but also supports Britain’s ambitious exporters which rely on aviation trade routes to get their goods to markets and the other UK airports that benefit from Heathrow’s links to markets further afield.
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