Media release: 1,500 businesses sign up for virtual Meet the Buyer North event


MORE than 1,500 businesses have registered for the third annual Meet the Buyer North event, which will be held as a fully virtual, online event tomorrow, 2 September.

Partnered by the Scottish Government, the Supplier Development Programme (SDP) has organised this unique event to allow local businesses connect with the public sector.

A welcome address will be delivered virtually by Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes MSP.

Every year, the public sector in Scotland spends £11 billion. That is £11 billion set aside for goods, works and services that Scottish busi­nesses can provide – and these are goods, works and services that public bodies, whether lo­cal councils or national organisations, want Scottish businesses to provide.

No business is too small to get its share of public sector spending, as even one-person sole traders can have something to offer.

The challenge for many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is knowing how to put their name out there so that the public bodies tendering these contracts know what they have to offer or finding out what contracts are being let.

That is where the Supplier Development Programme (SDP) and its Meet the Buyer events come in, bringing together suppliers and the public bodies which need them.

At this virtual event, businesses can spend one day, or part of the day, to meet buyers, such as procurement officers and/or category managers from local authorities and other public organisations.

The online element eliminates costly travel time and brings buyers from Scotland and the UK’s public sector, private contractors with supply chain opportunities, and business support providers, together to engage with businesses of all sizes via face-to-face video conferencing and live chat options.

Businesses can also ask questions “live” to speakers on the agenda, which include Craig Innes, head of Commercial & Procurement Shared Services at Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Highland Councils; Lesley Anderson, head of Procurement at the Scottish Procurement Alliance; and a panel session with the Supplier Development Programme’s expert trainers.

SDP programme man­ager, Gillian Cameron ,be­lieves the opportunities are so wide ranging, from long term contracts to ‘Quick Quote’ contracts of £50,000 or less, that there is something for every participant, no matter the size or speciality of the potential contractor, from construction tradespeople, cleaners, IT spe­cialists and engineers to photographers and businesses that have recently diversified with new offerings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gillian said: “Often with support from local authority economic teams and Business Gateway, in the past months many businesses in Scotland have learned new skills to go digital with video conferencing and webinars in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as start to improve their chances of returning to business as usual with a plan for the future in the public sector.

“Through the Meet the Buyer North event, the Supplier Development Programme offers a direct link to buyers for local councils, education, emergency services, housing associations and partnerships, further and higher education organisations and collaborative procurement authorities such as the Scottish Procurement Alliance and Scotland Excel.”

The virtual event is free to attend, and businesses must register for a free account on the Supplier Development Programme website in advance.


Photo taken pre-pandemic at Meet the Buyer North 2019 in Aviemore

Notes for editors:

  • SDP is a publicly-funded partnership led by Local Authorities, working in conjunction with Scottish Government and other public bodies, to bring Scottish SMEs support in all aspects of tendering. By assisting businesses to become tender ready for public procurement, SDP improves all-round efficiency, sustainability and market potential.
  • In Scotland, there is an annual public spend of £11billion. In the UK, there is an annual public spend of £240billion. SDP Scotland offers free training throughout Scotland to Scottish SMEs to support and champion them tendering for this work.
  • Confirmed exhibitors include:
    • Moray Council
    • Argyll and Bute Council
    • Fife Council
    • Perth & Kinross Council
    • Highlands and Islands Enterprise
    • Business Gateway – Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire
    • Business Gateway – Tayside
    • Business Loans Scotland
    • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
    • Soil Association Scotland
    • Transport Scotland
    • APUC (Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges)
    • Just Enterprise
    • Partnership for Procurement
    • Scottish Procurement Alliance
    • Scotland Excel
    • Scape
    • NEPO
    • Crown Commercial Service
    • SELECT (trade association for the electrical contracting industry in Scotland)
    • hub North Scotland Limited
    • RJ McLeod Contractors Ltd
    • Forth & Tay Offshore and Deep Wind: Scotland’s Offshore Wind Clusters
    • Red Rock Power Limited
    • Dounreay Site Restoration Limited
    • Scottish Government eCommerce Service, Collaborative Procurement – Construction, Central Government Procurement Shared Services, Procurement Services and Cyber Resilience Unit
    • Supplier Development Programme

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SDP contact details…

Contact: Jennifer Payne
Phone: 07584174531