UMi helps Manchester Airport connect small businesses to major clients

Manchester Airport hosted its inaugural ‘Meet the Buyers’ event in March, with more than 200 attendees from over 100 local businesses taking the opportunity to connect directly with key prospective clients in the Greater Manchester area. 

The event, which was delivered by UMi, attracted small and medium-sized businesses in sectors as varied as construction, IT and business services to meet and network with around two dozen major buyers and taking part in more than 800 meetings across the day.  

Manchester Airport’s operator, MAG, hosted the event at its Runway Visitor Park, and the day opened with a speech from the airport’s Managing Director, Chris Woodroofe. 

Other buyers represented included private and public sector organisations, such as Manchester City Council, construction giants Mace, Kier and Vanderlande, and aviation service provider HSS Airports. 

A range of workshops and presentations ran throughout the day, parallel to the event in the Runway Visitor Park’s main hangar. Manchester City Council’s Director of Inclusive Economy, Angela Harrington, delivered a talk on the city’s vision for future growth, followed by a presentation on Manchester Airport’s £1.3bn transformation programme by MAG’s Head of Procurement, Stuart D’Henin. Other presentations included a talk from Employment Law Consultant, Mark Brewer, with tips on onboarding and retaining staff. 

Marcella M’Rabety, Head of Education, Skills & Employment at MAG, said: “It was fantastic to see such a good turnout and to connect so many great local businesses with major buyers who want to tap into wealth of ideas, expertise and innovation in this region. Events like this one help businesses make introductions to the right contacts while removing the need for endless cold calls, email chasing, and speculative meetings. 

Paul Clark, Senior Campaign & Event Manager at UMi, said: "We were overwhelmed by the response to the first ever Manchester Airport Meet the Buyers. The turnout was fantastic, and we are confident the the relationships that will blossom from the introductory meetings at this event will result in considerable new contract opportunities for local businesses” 

Rob McGregor, attending on behalf of Vanderlande Industries, said: “It’s been a really good event. We’ve been able to meet lots of different suppliers, understanding what they can contribute.  It has broadened our horizons in terms of understanding what is out there.” 

Dan Ferneyhough, of Taylor Woodrow, added: “It has been really, really interesting. The format of Meet the Buyers is fantastic, having a large number of contacts sitting down with us to have short conversations. We have made quite a few new contacts who we can now go to with tender opportunities. We would certainly attend again and we would recommend others to do so too.” 

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