Thirty small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in Hongkong have won the British Airways (BA) Business Opportunity Grants, an initiative designed to stimulate local business and keep entrepreneurship alive.
The winners out of 400 companies, which joined the competition held between November 2009 and January 2010, each received 10 return World Club tickets valid for travel between March 1, 2010 and February 28, 2011. The total value of the tickets is estimated at HK$11 million (US$1.4 million). Each winning company also received five Regus Businessworld gold memberships.
“We know that the key to building successful long-term business partnerships is through face-to-face meetings,” said Kevin McQuillan, the airline's regional general manager for East Asia. “Our hope is that the Opportunity Grants really help these businesses open doors, forge stronger partnerships, and increase their revenues. This will help Hongkong’s economy become more sustainable as well.”
Quoting a Harvard Business Review Analytical Services study, BA pointed out that 56 percent of travel budgets were slashed last year, even as 89 percent of the 2,300 respondents of the same Harvard study agreed that face-to-face meetings were essential for "sealing the deal".
BA's Business Opportunity Grants offer a lifeline for SMEs "to get where they need to go, physically and mentally". Companies, which vied for the grant, have a head count of 150 or less, and are from a range of industries, including retail, consumer goods, entertainment, real estate and construction, finance and legal services among others.
“British Airways has given us the opportunity to travel for invaluable face-to-face meeting, allowing us to nurture current relationships and to try and win new businesses," said Conor O'Donovan, CEO of ODM Asia, one of the grant's winners.
“The grant gave us an opportunity to see other companies abroad instead of just seeing them online,” added Vivien Fung Thomas, general manager of The Candle Company. “We went to the US and visited the largest candle-making company ‘Yankee Candle’. The grant gave us an opportunity to meet successful companies in our field.”
The other winners of BA's Business Opportunity Grants include: Azeus Systems Limited, Chung Ying Building Supplies Company, DNA GreenDesign, Flatfield Hong Kong Limited, Seven Dreams, Whytecliff Trading and MediConcepts Limited to name a few.
This is the first time BA has launched Business Opportunity Grants in Hongkong. The programme has been expanded to South Africa, India, and the United Arab Emirates.
For more details, visit www.ba.com/hongkong-grants