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Supplier Development Programme Announces Virtual Meet the Buyer Activities

Meet the Buyer 2020: Live Virtual Event

The Supplier Development Programme previously announced that due to the restrictions on public gatherings amid the COVID-19 crisis, the Annual Meet the Buyer Event was postponed to 8 June 2021. While a physical Meet the Buyer event cannot take place this year, the Supplier Development Programme has announced that a virtual interactive event will be held on 2 June 2020 that will focus on suppliers engaging with a range of public sector buyers through a “Twitter Takeover,” supported by two free SDP tender training webinars.

Scottish businesses can register their interest in participating on the official event page on the SDP website. Suppliers are also encouraged to sign up to two webinars on 2 June on Frameworks & Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS), which will run in the morning, and Public Contracts Scotland (PCS): What would you like to know? which will run in the afternoon.

To participate in the webinars, businesses must register for free in advance on the SDP website. The joining instructions and link will be emailed the day before, and suppliers will be able to attend each webinar from their remote working location. All staff, including those on furlough, are welcome to voluntarily participate in this free tender training.

Suppliers will be able to interact on Twitter with buyers during a “Twitter Takeover” of the SDP Scotland Twitter account on 2 June, including Fife Council, East Renfrewshire Council, South Ayrshire Council, and Scottish Government.

Utilising the #MeetTheBuyer2020 hashtag, businesses are invited to ask real time questions to these public sector buyers that may normally be asked face-to-face at the Meet the Buyer event, on wide-ranging topics such as how to do business with the buyer, Quick Quotes, and what upcoming contracts and frameworks may be available, in reaction to COVID-19 as well as longer-term procurement opportunities.

To participate in the live virtual event on Twitter, suppliers must create and login to a Twitter account on the day.

Gillian Cameron, SDP Scotland Programme Manager, said:

“The current outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is unprecedented and is having a significant impact on businesses of all sizes. Even during these difficult times, the public sector still has to abide by the procurement rules to ensure that as much as possible, it can continue to tender vital contracts for goods, services and works.

“During what has now become months of containment, working remotely can have its benefits in providing Scottish businesses the capacity to spend time on learning or brushing up on bidding skills.

“SDP is keen to support Scottish SMEs, third sector and supported businesses with how they can use this event to look to recovery and build a future business opportunity pipeline which could provide a source of stability for their business’s future, which is particularly illusive in the current economic climate.

“While this isn’t a replacement for a physical Meet the Buyer event, our planned virtual activity on Twitter and training by webinar on 2 June will hopefully stimulate conversation between buyers and suppliers and demonstrate that public sector procurement, worth £11bn in Scotland annually, remains both open and transparent despite the hardships lockdown presents.

“SDP Scotland also encourages Scottish businesses to participate in a survey on the effects of Supplier Relief before it closes on Friday, 22 May. Suppliers in Scotland, especially small, medium and micro sized businesses, can fill in a short survey to share their experience of supplier relief with public sector buyers during the Coronavirus crisis so far.”

Scottish businesses are encouraged to register interest in on the official event page on the SDP website prior to 2 June.

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