The annual Gatwick Diamond Meet the Buyers event, sponsored by Gatwick Diamond Initiative, Gatwick Airport and Crawley Borough Council, took place at the Arora Hotel in Crawley on Wednesday 21st November 2018.
The event was designed to connect procurement teams from larger organisations with smaller local businesses.
It was a great success with 18 buyer organisations and 90 local suppliers taking part. An estimated £1million of business deals will be generated because of the event and the supporting seminar programme.
This year’s buyers - many of whom are blue chip corporates - believe it is an efficient way to meet potential suppliers.
Elekta, Gatwick Airport and Chichester College Group were among those taking part.
Julie Kapsalis, Managing Director of the Chichester College Group said “The reason my colleague and I came today is as a business Chichester College Group is committed to procure products and services locally, we think it’s really important to support local businesses and local supply chains. Today I think one of the great advantages is being the huge variety of the businesses we have seen and actually all of them have an angle where we could work with them either in a formal supplier sense or in a partnership sense going forwards so really positive, really good day.”
An advisory section was included this year, enabling national and local government representatives to provide guidance on how to secure contracts with public sector organisations.
Crawley, Horsham & Mid Sussex Councils explained “As a local authority working in the area, it’s really useful for us to meet some of the local supply chain and explain to them how we go about doing business in local authorities. We’ve been able to signpost them to people within the organisation but also to our online tendering portal and give some advice on how to access future opportunities at the council.”
Eight pre-event seminars were also held across the Gatwick Diamond area, ensuring the local suppliers were prepared for the main sales event and were informed on how best to follow up contacts made.
Paula Aldridge, Community Engagement manager, Gatwick Airport, said “Gatwick is proud to be one of the region’s major buyers and it was a privilege to meet so many local businesses and see if we can support them by growing the airport’s supply chain. The sales this event generates makes an important contribution to the local economy and supports Gatwick Airport’s wider economic contribution.”
One supplier at the event, Peter Sowerby from 20six, a Sussex-based interior specialist, said: “I don’t think I’ve ever been to an event where I’ve met so many potential buyers in such a short space of time. My hope is that I form relationships from this and can follow up in the next couple of weeks.”
Kathy Taylor from Sodexo Prestige, corporate hospitality professionals at Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club said: “I felt that the Buyers in attendance today were incredibly engaging and supportive and provided high value in a short period of time with regards to my business needs and how they can help me. For me it was entirely valuable - within 6 appointments I received potential business out of all of them. Entirely worth the investment and I would quite happily come back and do it again. I look forward to seeing what my follow ups will bring.”