Helping hand for Yorkshire food and drink SMEs to trade with big business

The charity Business in the Community (BITC) and Santander UK have joined forces to give Yorkshire SMEs the chance to meet senior buyers from three of the UK’s largest food and drink sector businesses at a free event in Leeds on May 20.

Regional food and drink small businesses will be able to engage with procurement experts and buyers from Asda, the Co-operative Group and Sodexo. Andrew Keeble, Founder of Heck Sausages, will sharing his company’s story and best practice tips at an insight session.

The interactive day also advice into trading opportunities, purchasing decisions, practical workshops and networking.

Access the Buyer at Shine, Harehills Road, Leeds, from 10.00 – 15.00 is part of a series of free events throughout the UK organised by BITC and Santander to help SMEs access large businesses and supply chain opportunities.

Mike Hackett, regional director business development, Santander Corporate & Commercial Banking, 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 will 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.”  

Liz Needleman, area director of BITC England East, said: “SMEs account for 99 per cent of all private sector businesses in the UK yet often struggle to supply their products and services to large 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 so we know they are a key contributor to economic growth.

“Yorkshire has a particularly vibrant food and drink sector and our event is a great opportunity to meet those key people who can help to get products onto supermarket shelves, into professional kitchens and onto menus.”

Access the Buyer is 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 about the Leeds event, or to apply to participate, visit:

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