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The North of Scotland is Open for Business: Meet the Buyer North 2019

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The Supplier Development Programme will hold the 2nd annual Meet the Buyer North event on Wednesday, 4 September at Macdonald Aviemore Resort. Confirmed headline partners include Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Each year, everything in the public sector is bought – there are very few in-house services across Scotland – which adds up to an overall spend of £11 billion. While there is a regulated tender process to be a supplier to the public sector, it’s one process to sell across the wider public sector. These buyers have a duty to engage with local SME businesses to support local employment and retain wealth locally. Transparency is required for the procurement of goods, services and works, so public sector buyers are required to be open, fair and honest in the way they choose suppliers and in any dealings with them.

For owners of small or medium sized businesses, the public sector is the best customer to have because there is no debt risk: payment can be made on a received invoice within 10 days if there’s a cash flow need, and within 30 days as the legal maximum.

Public sector contracts offer stability for your business. Regardless of the economic implications of things like Brexit or economic downturns, public services still need to be delivered. This provides suppliers with a relatively stable and durable customer base. There is also marketing mileage from having a large customer like a public body, which can then be used to promote your service to grow your business.

Gillian Cameron, SDP Programme Manager, said:

“If a business is trying to break into the public sector in the Highlands and Islands, Meet the Buyer North 2019 is a great chance to spend one day away from the office to meet procurement officers face-to-face. It costs precious time and effort for suppliers to find contacts for procurement departments and upcoming contracts, not to mention travel time for individual meetings and time spent away from delivering their businesses on phone calls and networking. This unique event eliminates that costly time and effort and brings buyers from Scotland and the UK’s public sector, private contractors and business support providers all under one roof. Best of all, it’s free to attend.”

Focusing on public sector buyers in the North of Scotland, exhibitors include Local Authorities, NHS, Higher Education, Central Government, as well as key Tier 1 contractors that want to open up their supply chains. Meet the Buyer North 2019 offers businesses a unique opportunity to meet buyers and decision makers from across the public and private sectors. SMEs that attend can use the opportunity to raise their business profiles and prepare for upcoming contract opportunities, and SDP has put together a guide on how to optimise their time on the day.

There will also be a programme of speakers and workshops, where SMEs can hear from a range of expert speakers. This year’s agenda will feature Moray Council, the Scottish Government Cyber Resilience team, SELECT Trade Association, as well as Crown Commercial Service. SDP will also be running a short training workshop, offering businesses top tips on tendering.

Meet the Buyer North 2018, held in Inverness, was a smash success with over 400 people in attendance. SDP received highly positive feedback about the event, with 89% of suppliers rating their overall event experience as either good or excellent, and 62% of suppliers said that they would definitely or very likely bid for public contracts after attending the event.

Businesses that want to introduce their company and make these all important connections, to find out about potential contract opportunities relevant to their business in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland should book their place for free by visiting the SDP Scotland website.

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