DELEGATES from more than 100 local and regional firms descended on Stansted to get an understanding of how to do business with the airport.
They were given an outline of the commercial opportunities available at the Essex hub and how to take advantage of them.
They learned how local firms can fit into the airport’s supply chain, and heard advice on how to generate and develop business ideas and how to access business support and networking opportunities.
The seminar on Tuesday last week targeted smaller firms and was a forerunner for September’s ‘Meet the Buyers’ event at the Hilton Hotel, which last year saw more than 600 face-to-face meetings among representatives of businesses ranging from the creative sector to civil engineering and generated an estimated £1.5m in new orders for local companies.
Stansted’s head of public affairs, Chris Wiggan, said: “Whilst the economy remains in a fragile state, I believe that events like this and ‘Meet the Buyers’ provides an excellent opportunity for suppliers to meet key businesses from in and around the airport, and hopefully many will benefit from the possibilities they bring.”
Bishop’s Stortford MP Mark Prisk, who is minister for business and enterprise, added: “I have a firm view that a key driver of the economic recovery of the country will come from the growth generated by SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).
“Meet the Buyers is intended to help small local companies secure contracts to supply goods and services to larger organisations. I strongly welcome this initiative from them.”
Mr Prisk was the keynote speaker earlier this month when more than 100 traders gathered at the Hilton Hotel for an event organised by the Stansted Airport Chamber of Commerce (SACC).
The minister told members about his programme to help businesses, especially SMEs, to prosper. His remarks focused on three areas: reforming and reducing firms’ tax burden, helping them to get better access to the finance they need and reducing the burden of regulation.
Following a question and answer session, Mr Prisk spoke one-to-one with many of the business people there.
He was joined by the airport’s managing director, Nick Barton, who told the audience that Stansted is a major catalyst for growth and productivity in the region, employing more than 10,200 people across 190 airport-related companies and contributing £400m to the regional economy.
He said that airport operator BAA was keen to open up routes to North America and the Far East. According to airline economics, it takes 60,000-80,000 passengers a year to make a new route viable. Mr Barton said that with 1.4m passengers travelling to the USA and 462,000 en route to the Far East passing Stansted on their way to Heathrow or Gatwick every year, it was an achievable ambition.
After the presentations, delegates were able to network with those from fellow businesses across the region.
Julie Budden, of SACC, said: “This event proved to be very informative for all those who attended and provided an excellent opportunity for business networking. Many of those attending have asked that we hold it again, so I anticipate this will become an annual event.”
For more information about ‘Meet the Buyers’ on September 27, visit www.stanstedmtb.com or phone 020 7700 0008.