What is a Meet the Buyer event?

Meet the Buyer events are an opportunity for suppliers to introduce themselves to public sector buyers and private sector primary contractors to learn about new projects, contracts, framework opportunities and supply chain opportunities. For buyers, these events enable them to increase their pool of potential suppliers and widen their supply chains. Overall, Meet the Buyer events offer suppliers a great opportunity to network.

The Supplier Development Programme (SDP) organises the largest free Meet the Buyer event in Scotland on an annual basis. Additionally, SDP organises a Meet the Buyer North event and a Meet the Buyer South event was introduced in 2023.

Whatever the size of a business, Meet the Buyer events are useful to attend when considering bidding for future contracting opportunities, as they are specifically designed to help suppliers with the tendering process. Meet the Buyer events can help suppliers understand what the buyers are looking for, introduce them to innovative goods, works and services, and can give suppliers insight on how bids are and will be evaluated from from a procurement perspective. Meet the Buyer events also offer the opportunity to engage with business support initiatives, such as the Supplier Development Programme, local authority economic development representatives and Business Gateway representatives.

What is a Meet the "Real" Buyer event?

Broadly similar to a Meet the Buyer event, a Meet the "Real" Buyer event takes suppliers a step further back into a buying organisation before a contract is let by procurement departments. Networking opportunities are available to directly meet with the actual, real commissioner who identifies the need for procurement in the first instance. Meet the "Real" Buyer events offer the opportunity for potential bidders to discuss upcoming projects and the procurement process with council officers.

How can I prepare for a Meet the Buyer event?

SDP has prepared a couple of guides for suppliers to prepare for Meet the Buyer and Meet the Buyer North, and these are updated annually. These steps will help you prepare in advance for how to optimise your time on the day, with lots of hints and tips that can be applied to any Meet the Buyer or Meet the "Real" Buyer event your business attends.

Why aren't all Meet the Buyer events in Scotland advertised by SDP?

If wishing made it so! The Supplier Development Programme works in partnership with all 32 Scottish local authorities and numerous public and private sector organisations to advertise as many Meet the Buyer events to local SMEs, supported and third sector organisations as possible. SDP encourages public sector buyers and primary contractors to take paid membership of the Programme to adequately support suppliers into bidding and tendering, as well as supply chain and community wealth building opportunities. SDP is happy to exhibit at non-centralised Meet the Buyer events throughout the year, and more information on working in partnership can be found by emailing the SDP Team.

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