East London SMEs in the running for millions of pounds worth of business

On Tuesday 18 October, 104 small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) gathered at the ExCel in London for the East London Meet the Buyer event to learn about tender opportunities with London City Airport and partners. 

Buyers hosted in excess of 700 meetings with suppliers to discuss the work that the airport and partners will need completed in the upcoming months throughout their supply chain.

In addition to the pitching and networking, suppliers attended a range of workshops with OneSource, Newham College, Living Wage, and the University of East London covering issues such as ‘Paying a real living wage’ and ‘learning new ways to recruit’.

Supported by local companies such as Circle UK Group and Fusion Blu, this year’s event saw prestigious buyers such as Glenman Corporation, HSS Hire, Jerram Falkus, Higgins Partnerships, One Source and Berkeley Homes provide an insight into what they are looking for from prospective suppliers. 

Previous years have seen the likes of Balfour Beatty, Greater London Authority and Transport for London offer more than £3.5m of new work to local SMEs, with 100% of past buyers saying they have looked to place business with suppliers met at the event. 

Nicki Clark OBE, UMi Chief Executive, said: “This Meet The Buyer event has been a huge success, with lots of relationships formed between the 23 buyers and 133 suppliers that attended. It will pave the way for millions of pounds worth of new work for SMEs in the years to come. It has been a pleasure to work with London City Airport and partners to showcase these opportunities.”

Robert Sinclair, CEO, London City Airport, said: “We are proud to support East London Meet the Buyer alongside fantastic partners including UMi, Newham Council and our host ExCel.

“We know this event works; we know it creates value and in 2018 and 2019, it was very successful and attracted over 300 businesses to both events that resulted in £3.5m in contract value wins for local businesses.

“My ambition is to do even better this year and even better further still in the years to come, as this is a flagship event for local economy, which is all the more important given the challenges that we all face currently.”

Derwent Jaconelli of Urgent Services Ltd and Rhona Manning of Help Save Lives attended the event.

Derwent said: “This was a unique and fantastic opportunity for SMEs like us to meet face to face with buyers from a range of sectors, but in an environment where the buyers are actually willing to discuss what you have to offer.”

Rhona said: “'A fantastic event. So professional and well organised. Looking forward to the great business to come from the buyers that I met.”

Buyers or suppliers who are interested in attending next year’s event can register their interest by emailing carly.haddon@weareumi.co.uk or paul.clark@weareumi.co.uk.