One of many bits of (junk) mail I receive as a long suffering company director is an invitation from Lambeth Council to a Meet the Buyer Event aimed at helping local businesses become suppliers to the Council. I accept the invite.
My expectations are not particularly high when I turn up. The YMCA at Stockwell doesn’t sound like the classiest of venues and I get there its fallen down (I later discover it is in fact being rebuilt). There are about 60 people in the audience. I pick up the vibe that most of these people are from very small business.
There are three or four presentations and they are short and to the point. The messages are that Lambeth has a specific initiative to help small businesses become public sector suppliers, and that if you are going to become a small business supplier its more likely to be as a second or third tier supplier to a larger private company which has won a large council contract.
Particularly impressive is a lady called Carol Hustler of Supply London . She presents really well and seems to know her subject. The colourful Steven Regalado from the Lambeth Council procurement department is also very approachable.
Questions from the floor are basic and largely uninspiring. I ask what turnover companies require before they will get council contracts. Stephen explains that most councils won’t give a company an order which is worth more than a quarter of its turnover.
At the end , I get Stephen’s business card but Carol has run out of them. In nearly didn’t respond to the invite but I am glad I came – good event.
Based on an account recorded in my diary