Opportunity knocks for local businesses at ‘meet the buyer’ event
Posted by on 27 Nov 2018
Local companies across Rochdale set out their stall at a unique event where millions of pounds worth of public sector contracts were up for grabs.
More than 127 businesses, 29 of which were from Rochdale, flocked to the meet the buyer event at Rochdale Town Hall, which was designed to help local firms pitch for business with major public sector organisations, including the council/STAR Procurement, RBH, Hopwood Hall College and the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group.
The event was hosted by Rochdale Development Agency with support from STAR procurement, the joint buying service for Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford councils, as part of their drive to increase local spend.
Since launching the local spend campaign last year, the amount of money Rochdale Borough council spends with local businesses has jumped from £21.2m to £34.58m.
And one major change which has helped boost local spend is a new initiative which allows STAR to target local companies, offering support with tendering for contracts.
The event allowed businesses to speak directly to buyers from key organisations to understand bidding for contracts in all areas of public sector spend.
Bev Wrigley owns Engaging Safety Ltd, which is based at Globe House in Rochdale and provides health and safety training. She said: “Often, contacts for the types of services we provide will be tendered through a national broker, who will subcontract the work to us and take a cut. By letting small companies like mine bid for contracts directly and removing the middleman and their fee, more money comes to the local business and the organisations, like councils, which buy my company’s services, also save money.”
“If I can gain new contracts locally, I am likely to need to employ at least two more people over the next year, which will create new jobs in Rochdale.”
Damian Chadwick and Joel Murphy, from Alliance North West, which has a base at Broadfield Business Park in Heywood and sells consumables to schools and universities, were also at the event.
Joel said: “Events like this are really helpful for networking and helping to expand your business, as you get straight to the right person, which can be difficult in big organisations like councils. It’s good for the buyers too, as we are right on the doorstep, so if there are any issues with our goods or services, we can send someone out straight away to fix it. And being local means we don’t have to travel far, so we can reduce our carbon footprint.”
Established in 2014, STAR procurement saved in excess of £5.2m for it’s councils in 2017/18.
Councillor Allen Brett, leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “By ensuring we use our considerable buying power to benefit local companies wherever we can, the positive effects are felt by the whole community, because we’re helping to keep money and jobs in Rochdale.”
“We’ve made considerable progress in our campaign to increase local spend and events like this will only push that figure up further. I was delighted to see so many Rochdale businesses in the room and I’m pleased to see them getting the opportunities they deserve.”
If suppliers would like to find out more about doing business with the public sector, they can find out more at: www.star-procurement.gov.uk