SMEs get helping hand to access supply chain opportunities in Milton Keynes

13 October 2015

The charity Business in the Community has joined forces with Santander to deliver a free event in Milton Keynes to help SMEs access large businesses and supply chain opportunities.

The ‘Access the Buyer’ event is taking place in Milton Keynes on 21st October and will give SMEs from the ICT, media, marketing, estates and facilities management sectors the opportunity to engage with senior buyers and procurement specialists from large businesses through workshops and networking sessions.

The event will bring together buyers and innovation managers from Network Rail, Virgin Trains, First Great Western and National Express with selected SMEs and will feature a combination of purchasing insight, live commercial briefs and interactive breakout sessions.

SMEs account for 99 per cent of of all private sector businesses in the UK* and play a critical role in driving the economy, providing employment, as well as helping to build sustainable and resilient communities. SMEs often struggle to supply their products and services to large businesses, impacting their ability to grow and create jobs.

Business in the Community’s ‘Access the Buyer’ events aims to address this by offering SMEs practical support to help them break into and access the often complicated procurement process and supply chains of large companies.

These events are free to attend and will bring together 40 to 50 SMEs with a specially selected panel of senior buyers.

John Lally, Business Development Director at Santander UK, Home Counties, said: “Santander is committed to supporting small businesses and we are proud to be Business in the Community’s SME programme partner. SMEs tell us that a key barrier to growth is being able to access the supply chains of larger businesses. The Access the Buyer events provide guidance for small business owners on how to successfully win new contracts and trade with their larger cousins. We hope that by helping small businesses to grow we can contribute to local economic growth, and ultimately create jobs.”

Jane Pritchard, Business in the Community’s Enterprise Director, said: “Access the Buyer gives SMEs across the UK practical insight into the trading opportunities with larger businesses. Since the beginning of the recession, nine out of ten unemployed people who found work in the private sector found it in an SME and so we know they are a key contributor to economic growth. We have been working with many hundreds of SMEs throughout this campaign and helping them to flourish and create employment.”

Access the Buyer is supported by Santander and part of Business in the Community’s wider work on enterprise, which looks to build sustainable communities by supporting SMEs to grow and create jobs across the UK. To find out more, or to apply to participate visit: