flybmi, in partnership with the Department for International Trade (DIT), is taking its Seats for Startups initiative national for 2019, as it searches for the nation’s top new business talent to support.
The business-led initiative was piloted by the airline in 2016 when it launched the programme in the South West of England to assist new businesses in getting off the ground – both figuratively and literally!
As it re-launches in 2019 on a national scale, the competition will invite young enterprises from across the UK to enter into an opportunity to win return flights on the flybmi network which includes routes into Europe and the UK from airports including Aberdeen, Bristol, East Midlands, Newcastle and London Stansted.
As previously the competition will be open to any business that has been trading less than five years and with a turnover of less than £500k per annum. The winning businesses, which will be selected on a quarterly basis, will receive free flights for up to a year to enable them to support and grow their business, support from a DIT International Trade Adviser will ensure that they are best prepared to make their journey and are linked up to in-market support.
Minister of State at the Department for International Trade, Baroness Fairhead, said:
“This initiative is a great opportunity for UK businesses, offering them the support they need to get out into exciting markets and make the connections they need to begin exporting.
“The Department for International Trade stands ready to support businesses of all sizes with their export operations, and our recently launched Export Strategy sets out our offer as we look to move exports as a percentage of GDP to 35%. This includes our award-winning export credit agency, UK Export Finance, our network of peer-to-peer Export Champions and a strong range of advice, support and inspiration which I’d encourage any business thinking of selling overseas to access on GREAT.gov.uk.”
When the scheme launched in the south-west in 2016 it attracted multiple entries from businesses in sectors such as technology and education. Amongst the winning businesses was Paperclip, a start-up which allows users to buy, sell, swap and freecycle. Commenting on their win Rich Woolley said: “Winning a free flight with flybmi helped us immeasurably; as an early stage startup with limited funds at the time, the flight enabled us to visit our product development team in Brno, Czech Republic. Working with the development team in person resulted in us catching some product issues before they arose, ultimately resulting in our business going from strength to strength, being nominated for (and winning) some of Wales’ top startup awards and going on to complete a seed raise of nearly £1m.”
Jochen Schnadt, Managing Director of flybmi said: ‘Seats for Startups was an incredible initiative when we piloted it in the south-west in 2016. As an airline that predominantly serves the business market, we are always looking for creative ways to give back to the community and support those who have supported us. By taking Seats for Startups national we are able to provide a unique opportunity to help small businesses across the UK to grow, thrive and realise their dreams. I’m really looking forward to hearing from businesses to see what stars of the future we can unearth in 2019.’
The Department for International Trade recently launched the UK’s new Export Strategy setting out how the government will support businesses of all sizes to make the most of opportunities presented around the world. The strategy sets out a new ambition from the government to increase exports as a proportion of UK GDP to 35% and sets out a targeted offer for all businesses to help raise productivity, boost wages and protect employment across the country.
How to Enter:
All businesses need to do to win the flights is to describe in less than 500 words who they are, where they want to go from the destinations within flybmi’s network and what they hope to achieve by going there. Applications are open now at flybmi.com/promo/seats-for-startups and will be judged by representatives of the airline. Flybmi will select a new winner every three months from a shortlist of entries received. Eligible businesses must be based within 50 miles of one of flybmi’s departure points: Aberdeen, Bristol, East Midlands, London Stansted and Newcastle.
flybmi operates an all-jet fleet comprising 19 Embraer 135 and 145 aircraft. The airline now operates over 600 scheduled flights a week across a network of 44 destinations in 12 European countries and employs more than 400 staff. The airline also operates an extensive ad-hoc charter business and flies on a contract basis on behalf of other carriers. Its scheduled network includes Oslo and Stavanger in Norway; Brussels in Belgium; Esbjerg in Denmark; Nantes and Paris in France; Brno in Czech Republic; Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Nuremberg, Rostock, Munich, Saarbrücken and Stuttgart in Germany; Dublin in Ireland; Milan Bergamo, Bari, Bologna, Florence, Venice and Verona in Italy; Lublin in Poland; Jonkoping, Norrkoping, Gothenburg and Karlstad in Sweden; Istanbul in Turkey and Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Derry, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Kirkwall, London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle, Stornaway, Sumburgh and Wick in the UK.