Over 40 public sector bodies from across Scotland and the UK are to meet in Glasgow this autumn for the 9th annual “Meet the Buyer” event hosted by the Supplier Development Programme on the 28th September at Hampden Park.
Partnered by Scottish Government, Scotland Excel and Business Gateway, the event will see 28 Scottish Local Authorities, the Ministry of Defence, DfID and Crown Commercial Services are among the 70+ organisations confirmed to exhibit along with over 1,000 Scottish companies as they descend on Hampden Park Stadium in Glasgow for a day of networking and procurement training.
Buyers from NHS National Services, Scotland Excel, Transport Scotland and over 15 private sector buyers with potential sub-contract opportunities will be in attendance, giving suppliers the opportunity to speak to directly to buyers about their procurement processes and contract opportunities.
The event is aimed at Scottish SME’s (small to medium sized businesses) who are interested in supplying to the public sector.
Gillian Cameron of the Supplier Development Programme said, “The event is on course to continue to be the largest public spend event hosted in Scotland, affording businesses: particularly SME’s a truly unique opportunity to network and connect and hear the latest news on how they can grow their business through public sector tendering and the wider supply chain – all under one roof”.
In addition to networking opportunities the event will feature presentations and seminars from Google Digital Garage, Infrastructure and Projects Authority, Co-operative Development Scotland and Crown Commercial Services, as well as practical workshops on how to write a successful tender.
Scott Bell, head of procurement reform integration at the Scottish Government, said ‘The Scottish Government recognises that SMEs are critical to the economic health of the country and we want them to thrive. Much is being done to ensure they can continue to compete for and win public contracts. Last year’s event showed there was great appetite from businesses to tender for public contracts with nearly three quarters of the thousand plus delegates coming from Scottish SMEs. There was hugely positive return – 97% – on the value of the day, and this annual event provides a great opportunity for SMEs to have face to face contact with procurement experts across the Scottish and UK public sector.’
Julie Welsh, Director of Scotland Excel, said: “As the national centre of procurement expertise for local authorities we are delighted to be partners in this Meet the Buyer event. It’s a fantastic chance for Scottish companies to speak directly to over 40 public sector organisations, including Scotland Excel, to find out about business opportunities and the tender process. We are always working to make sure Scottish businesses – including SMEs – are aware of the extensive contract opportunities that exist within the public sector, and this event will help us to continue to drive this forward.”
Hugh Lightbody, chief officer at the Business Gateway National Unit, added: “Every year we support thousands of businesses across Scotland as they look to upskill and identify new opportunities to grow their ventures. Public sector procurement is an important part of the new business mix for many companies and there is no doubt events like Meet the Buyer play a key role in helping these growing businesses maximise the opportunities available.”
This is the first year the event will include a dedicated Social Enterprise zone, hosted by the newly launched Partnership for Procurement (Supporting Scotland’s Third Sector) hub; with bespoke support on effective partnership and consortia bids available for Social Enterprise.
Pauline Graham, CEO at Social Firms Scotland, said: “We are delighted to showcase social enterprise in Scotland as part of Meet the Buyer this year since the Scottish Government has now launched a 10 year strategy for the sector with a key priority being to realise market opportunities for social enterprise. The aim of our newly launched Partnership for Procurement Hub is to provide the necessary support that social enterprises need to compete effectively for public contracts, and having a dedicated Social Enterprise Zone will provide an excellent opportunity to connect the supplier community with buyers across the public sector.”