Public Procurement and Property

Meet The Buyer North 2021 – what’s it all about?

August 24, 2021 by No Comments | Category buyers, Guest Blog, Meet the Buyer, Meet the Buyer North, Procurement news, Scottish Procurement, SMEs, suppliers, Training

Meet the Buyer North was born out of a need to ensure that local businesses across Scotland’s Highlands and Islands were supported into public sector tendering, with a partnership approach.  Businesses located in the North can face somewhat different or additional barriers due to remoteness and sparsity of population, and local authorities and public bodies which also face those obstacles want to build a better, more inclusive future where local economies thrive.

Each year, Scotland spends £12.6bn across the public sector (18-19 report), and it is in everyone’s interest for more Scottish SMEs, third sector organisations and supported businesses to find, win and keep a share of this spend to keep money local for longer.

The Supplier Development Programme regularly touts the many benefits to a sustainable procurement model, whereby SME businesses get invoices paid within 30 days (and 10 days if there is a cash flow need) so this is a regular cash flow they can count on.

One point the COVID-19 pandemic proved is that despite all else, public services must be delivered, and Scotland needs local supply chains and local suppliers to make it happen. This provides suppliers with a relatively stable and durable customer base.

Finally, there is also marketing mileage from having a large customer like a public body, which can then be used to promote and grow a small business to, for example, take on more staff or expand services to a new location.

So, how can businesses get involved in bidding for public sector contracts?

The 4th Annual Meet the Buyer North 2021 event will take place via a virtual platform on 7 September 2021. Headline partners include the Scottish Government and Scottish Procurement Alliance.

This free event affords suppliers that wish to do business in the North of Scotland, including the Highlands and Islands, crucial access to buyers and decision makers from across the public and private sectors. Business can network one-to-one, listen to presentations and enquire about upcoming contract and framework opportunities.

The main agenda will feature themes relevant and tailored to businesses in the North of Scotland including Net Zero, the Climate Change emergency in public sector procurement, Fair Work First, how to bring innovation to the public sector, Growth Deals, Community Wealth Building strategies, the implications of Brexit in delivering sustainable, open and transparent procurement within Scotland. Attendees will be able to ask questions live within the portal and have them answered in real time.

The ‘Power of Procurement Stage’ will be opened by Ivan McKee MSP, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism & Enterprise. Highlights of this stage include the Supplier Development Programme, Scottish Procurement Alliance, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Elevator UK, Business Gateway and Scottish Futures Trust. On the Let’s Do Net Zero Stage, Suppliers will hear from the Aberdeen City, Shire and Highland Council Shared Procurement Service on the Circular Economy, Fair Work First and Net Zero.  This presentation will be followed by a presentation from CFINE on Sustainable Food and Five Steps to Net Zero by SCDI. More speakers are being confirmed and will be announced on

Virtual Exhibitions

Suppliers will be able to visit virtual exhibition stands, download information and speak directly on a one-to-one basis with buyers via in-built video conferencing or the in-built chat function. Just like in-person events, there will be queues at Meet the Buyer North in the virtual exhibition area – but it will be worth the wait!

Confirmed exhibitors include Highland Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council, Moray Council, Argyll and Bute Council, Fife Council, Historic Environment Scotland, Transport Scotland, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Government.  Other exhibitors include Scottish Procurement Alliance, Scotland Excel and Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd.

Suppliers at Meet the Buyer North can connect directly with decision makers to introduce themselves, enquire about contract opportunities and learn about future buying plans.

Business Support

Meet the Buyer North is a great opportunity to make key contacts, find opportunities to grow in business, and access business support.

Other confirmed exhibitors include Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Living Wage Scotland, Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire, Business Gateway Tayside, and the Supplier Development Programme.

Employers that have enacted the Real Living Wage have made savings on retention, recruitment and training new staff. Those employers also report increased morale and motivation resulting in increased productivity, and 90% of consumers believe that pay should reflect living costs. This is certain to be an area of development in future public sector tenders right across Scotland’s public sector, and suppliers are encouraged to visit this exhibition to get ahead of the curve.

Living Wage Scotland is exhibiting in the Business Support area of the Exhibit Hall, and wants to speak to businesses interested in taking the next step towards Fair Work First and sustainable practice by becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer.

Meet the Buyer North is positioned to help businesses restart and grow: 90% of Scottish SMEs said they were more likely to bid for public contracts after participating in 2020’s virtual event.  Just watch this short clip to find out what it’s all about!

Meet the Buyer North 2021 is aimed at all micro, small and medium size organisations located in the North of Scotland.  It’s also aimed at businesses that are looking to grow and develop their business in the Highlands and Islands.

All suppliers are welcome to attend on 7 September. Please register a free place on the Supplier Development Programme website:


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