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Freebie Flights for Small Businesses

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If you’re a small business owner who wants to conduct face-to-face meetings with a potential partner in Tokyo, but don’t have the yen to make the trip to Japan, British Airways may be able to help out. The airline is offering 250 free roundtrip tickets to any of its destinations worldwide as prizes in a small-business competition.

The Face-to-Face Opportunity program, which the airline introduced in 2009, offers small business owners free flights anywhere in the world to help them grow their businesses internationally.

“For the second year, British Airways is proud to be supporting U.S. entrepreneurs and small businesses through our Face-to-Face program,” British Airway’s Simon Talling-Smith told BusinessNewsDaily. “Last year we gave over 600 companies the opportunity to conduct business the way it should be done — in person. We provided the flights and they took it from there, attending meetings all over the world.”

Small business owners and entrepreneurs can enter by submitting a video or essay of their best “elevator” pitch to the airline at  All 250 flight winners will also have the opportunity to attend the airline’s Face-to-Face Opportunity event in New York City on February 2, 2011, where they will receive tips and advice from a panel of influential business experts.

That evening the winners will be flown to London on a special BA Boeing 777 flight for a breakfast the following day where they can network and meet business contacts. From London they will be flown to their final destination.

Three selected winners will also have the chance to present their business plans to a panel of entrepreneur judges, including Bill Rancic, Barbara Corcoran and Bethenny Franklel, for a chance to win a British Airways Business Opportunity Grant, which offers airfare for 10 round-trip Club World flights to anywhere British Airways flies.

Small businesses with 250 employees or fewer are eligible. Entries must be submitted by October 21, 2010.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and held a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.