Business ‘speed dating’ event matches 90 local suppliers with the region’s top firms

28 November 2018

Meet the Buyer events connect local firms with the region’s biggest businesses – and 90 local suppliers pitched for new contracts and opportunities at a recent local annual event organised by the Gatwick Diamond.

Since 2010, these local events have raised around £22.5 million in business deals and  separate ‘liaisons’ – or meetings - took place between buyers and suppliers at this year’s event in the Arora Hotel, Crawley.

Gatwick Airport - one of the region’s biggest buyers - spent £133 million with local suppliers last year and expects to grow this figure significantly if the airport’s growth plans – as outlined in its draft master plan – are realised as it would deliver an additional £2 billion economic contribution to the region and 20,000 new jobs.

Other major regional buyers in attendance included attending included Southern Water, University of Brighton, the Home Office, Balfour Beatty, Thakeham and a wide range of local councils (see buyers list below).

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 income this event generates makes an important contribution to the local economy and we were encouraged by the support we received for our draft master plan which could also boost the region’s economy by £2 billion and deliver 20,000 new jobs.” 

One supplier at the event - Erica Sosna, from Career Matters, a consultancy that helps companies improve their retention through career conversations – said:

“It’s great to have the opportunity to connect with local businesses. We mostly work with large, international firms, so it is great to have a chance to find out what exceptional companies are right on our doorstep.” 

Dave Tappy from Big RED branding, that supplies branded promotional merchandise and clothing, said:

“The opportunity to meet with four sizeable blue chip organisation in one day, all under one roof, has been a great experience. I’m now looking forward to taking things forward and building long term relationships”

Peter Sowerby from 20six, a Sussex-based interior specialist, said:

“I don’t think ive ever been to an event where ive met so many potential buyers in such a short space of time. My hope is that I form a couple of relationships from this and can follow up in the next couple of weeks.”

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