Over 400 representatives from local, national and international businesses attended InterTradeIreland’s Supplier Engagement Event organised in partnership with NI Water at Titanic Belfast. It was NI Water’s ninth Supplier Engagement day.
The 2019 event welcomed Ervia for the first time. Ervia has procurement responsibility for 3 utilities, Irish Water, Gas Networks Ireland and Aurora Telecoms and were keen to engage with businesses and promote upcoming pipeline opportunities with the company coming up over the next 24 months.
Grant Gilmore, InterTradeIreland’s Public Tendering Manager said:
“Supplier Engagement events are all about giving Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), access to key personnel and staff who commission and procure goods and services on behalf of the public sector; but they are also an opportunity for the public sector to learn about new suppliers and innovations in the market place. The 2019 NI Water event offered all this and much more! Those SMEs who attended got unprecedented access to NI Water budget holders, the innovation team, and to key Tier 1 Suppliers.
Feedback from the delegates attending was universally positive, acknowledging that this has grown into a key fixture in the calendar. 2020 will bring new challenges to the industry and we will strive to ensure our approach builds local companies awareness, access and capability in this important market.”
Jane Mellor, Head of Operational Procurement with NI Water says:
“It was extremely rewarding to see the range of businesses represented at the event. They took full advantage of the opportunities to meet NI Water’s procurement teams, contractors and representatives from InterTradeIreland and Irish company, Ervia.
“The event also afforded many smaller businesses networking opportunities and training sessions giving insights into various aspects of procurement processes.
“With the support of InterTradeIreland, what started out as a small event in NI Water’s Antrim Training Centre a few years ago has grown to a major engagement day which will hopefully bring major benefits to businesses and the local economy.”
NI Water invests around £235m each year with our contractors for goods, services and capital works, about 80% of which is invested in local businesses. For every £1 that NI Water invests, the wider knock-on effect in our community is almost double. This event is undoubtedly a great opportunity to discuss opportunities with NI Water and the wider supply chain.
Ronan Larkin, NI Water’s Director of Finance and Regulation, explains: “In the 2018/19 financial year alone, NI Water awarded contracts to the value of £205 million to suppliers and contractors. Many of these contracts have benefited local firms in many sectors, not least the construction and engineering sector, thereby continuing to support our local economy at a time of significant challenge.
“This event is also a timely reminder that additional investment in our sewerage systems is essential to boost the local economy and is essential for local companies to develop and thrive. To remain fit for purpose, we calculate that the sum is £2.5bn, including £1bn to address used water, flooding and drainage problems in Belfast alone.
This successful collaboration between InterTradeIreland and NI Water will celebrate 10 years in 2020 with the Supplier Engagement event continuing to grow in popularity, year on year.