British Airways announces winners of Business Opportunity Grants
Airline helps Saudi Arabia SMEs to seek new opportunities and stimulate growth
UAE, 20 June 2012: British Airways has announced the winners of Business Opportunity Grants, an initiative in collaboration with the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) aimed at encouraging the small and medium sized business in Saudi Arabia.
Paolo De Renzis Regional Commercial Manager British Airways Middle East with some of the grant winners
The campaign, part of British Airways’ commitment to stimulate local businesses and support them to grow, awarded the winning SMEs return Club World (business class) tickets to a destination of their choice on the airline’s global network. The winners were selected from more than 370 entries.
Paolo De Renzis, Regional Commercial Manager, Middle East, said: “Business Opportunity Grants was an important programme that helped to stimulate business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by focusing on tangible human connections as a crucial driver of business growth.
“British Airways is committed to Saudi Arabia and by investing in local business we are confident that it will demonstrate the value of travelling for business. It is essential for businesses to travel to where the opportunities are and by engaging in face-to-face meetings, they help to build long-term relationships and drive success.”
Speaking on their involvement in the Business Opportunity Grants, Ms Kim Al Sahhaf, Head of Competitiveness Initiatives at SAGIA, said: “SAGIA has supported small and medium-sized businesses in the Kingdom through our own initiative, the Saudi Fast Growth 100 (SFG 100), which measures the growth of the smaller corporate sector. By raising awareness of the Business Opportunity Grants through our network, we have helped to fuel the opportunities and growth for the SFG 100 community.”
The winners of the Business Opportunity Grants represent a broad cross-section of SMEs from IT and engineering to film and television companies. Among them are Hazim Al-Dabbagh, Managing Partner of Saudi company Maintenance Ghair for Building Services Company Ltd. (Surefix) based in Jeddah, which offers premium facility management and maintenance services for residential and commercial facilities. SureFix employs the latest technology and equipment to provide full facilities management for shopping centers and companies’ headquarters such as Nestlé, and BUPA.
“We travel a lot because in our industry we need to hire qualified managers from all over the world,” said Al-Dabbagh. “We also travel specifically to recruit skilled technicians especially from India and Philippines. On the other hand we need to travel regularly to attend global conferences and get updates about the new developments in the facilities management field because this industry is constantly evolving on an ongoing basis particularly in regards to green facilities and building efficiencies.
“We might use our free flight to combine the two, so we would travel to attend an industry conference and do some headhunting at the same time. There is always a good opportunity for recruitment when you network with facility management professionals during conferences.”
Another winner, Danya Alhamrani is the CCO and co-founder of Jeddah-based Eggdancer Productions, the first production company in KSA to be owned and managed by Saudi women. Alhamrani said travel was an important part of being ‘documentarians’. “We travel to follow our stories, but also to share them with others,” she said. “In order to market our films, we travel the world to meet commissioning editors and pitch our films in international pitching sessions, and we are in constant search of funding. We also attend film festivals to promote our latest work.
“We are currently in development on a film which requires travelling to many countries to tell different parts of one story. The Business Opportunity Grant will bring us one step closer to making this film a reality.”
The 50 winners will travel in British Airways’ Club World cabin, enjoying their own private space to work or relax. From the ergonomically designed seating with ‘z’ bed position, more storage and greater privacy, to a six-foot fully flat bed and Club Kitchen, the business traveller’s every need is catered for. On the ground, refreshments and business facilities in the Galleries lounges at Terminal 5 ensure the business traveller benefits from feeling refreshed and ready to seize every business opportunity.
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British Airways Business Opportunity Grants Saudi Arabia
· The airline awarded 50 tickets to the SME community in Saudi Arabia.
· Travel will be in the airline’s Club World (business class) cabin.
· Flights are subject to availability and the validity of the travel period will be between 1 May 2012 and 30 April 2013.
· To enter the competition businesses had to explain their 2012 objectives and talk about how a British Airways Business Opportunity Grant would benefit their business. Entry took place via an online submission
· The competition ran from 17 January 2012, until 7 March 2012.
· Entries were reviewed by a panel of British Airways executives, independent business leaders and industry bodies such as SAGIA (Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority) and the UKTI.
· Entries represented companies with 250 employees or less.
About British Airways:
· British Airways first began operating flights from Saudi Arabia in the mid 1960s. The first flight was from London to Dhahran in February 1965.
· British Airways operates 61 weekly flights from eight GCC markets to London Heathrow in the summer schedule.
· 2012 marks the airline’s 80th anniversary of flying to the Middle East.
· British Airways has a worldwide route network that covers more than 150 destinations in 75 countries.
· The airline offers a choice of four cabins on majority of its longhaul services.
· British Airways operates a daily service to Riyadh using a four-class Boeing 777.
· British Airways operates a five-times-a-week service to Jeddah using a three-class Boeing 767.
· The airline is investing in new aircraft, new cabins, new technology and new routes.
· A majority of British Airways’ flights operate from Terminal 5, its home at London Heathrow. This terminal is capable of handling 30 million customers a year and is the size of 50 football pitches.