Big businesses look to find hidden gems at Norfolk Chamber Opportunities 2013 event

18:24 14 March 2013

Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

Norfolk Chamber of Commerce ' Opportunities 2013 ' event at Norwich City Football Club. Caroline Williamson. Photo: Steve Adams

Norfolk firms need to be less frightened and put themselves forward to secure deals with the region’s leading firms and public bodies, chamber of commerce chief executive Caroline Williams said yesterday.

During an event orgnaised by the Norfolk Chamber, 40 buyers held one-to-one sessions with 400 firms from across Norfolk and Suffolk to identify the local businesses that could help drive-down costs, improve efficiency and boost their output.

And as well as creating a unique networking opportunity for firms, the Opportunities 2013 event also provided business-to-business exhibitions and workshops from sector leaders.

Caroline Williams, chief executive of the Norfolk Chamber, said yesterday’s event at Norwich City Football Club provided an opportunity for buyers to find the services that would make them more competitive – but she said that suppliers had to be forthcoming with what they could offer.

Meanwhile, buyers from both the private and the public sector told of the links they had made that could lead to new contracts in the future.

Mrs Williams said: “Businesses have been given the opportunity to draw on some of the top companies in Norfolk and Suffolk. And what has been particularly exciting is that the suppliers have been delighted and the buyers have been pleasantly surprised with the range on offer – unearthing one or two hidden gems that they will definitely follow up on.

“When you talk to some of the companies at the top of the tree, they all want to buy more locally then they currently are. So Norfolk suppliers need to less frightened because it is up to the suppliers to make themselves known.

“After all, businesses are hungry for new ideas and solutions to make themselves more competitive.”

Buyers spanning the breadth of Norfolk and Suffolk’s private and public sector were on hand at the event, including Adnams brewers, Blue Sky Leisure, Norfolk County Council, May Gurney, Kinnerton, Norse, Briar Chemicals and City College Norwich.

Jonathan Wade, who was buying for poultry-giant Bernard Matthews, said the event had helped identify seven companies, from language services to IT and telecoms, that could lead to potential contracts.

He said: “The event provides a ten-minute test. If the business has potential then you can express further interest, but if not then I have saved myself an hour speaking to them.

“I wasn’t expecting a huge success, but I have got six of seven companies that could be of interest to us.

“It is an opportunity for suppliers to get in front of us who would not normally get to do so – and if it means doing more business with a local supplier then that is no bad thing.

“We are not necessarily looking for a business that can offer a cheaper service, but a firm that offers a different set of skills.”

Meanwhile, Holly Stibbon, director of Taverham-based website developers 101Smart, who was meeting buyers, said the event helped suppliers find out what firms wanted in an ever-changing market place.

She said: “Things keep changing, and over the last ten years we have had to develop our service substantially. It’s about finding out what people want and these events certainly help.”



Show Job Lists


Employers in East Anglia are paying staff more and looking at benefits packages in a bid to attract and retain staff.
Photo credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

If you excel at your job then now might be the time to speak to your boss about a pay rise or equally look for an upgrade in your benefits package.

                                 Managing Director of Bakers and Larners of Holt, Michael Baker, pictured at the Holt department store.


Family businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, but can often be weighed down by tradition. Now a report seeks to champion the region’s oldest family firms. Business writer SABAH MEDDINGS reports.

Green 100


Enjoy the Green 100
digital edition


Mustard TV

Meet the Team

Mark Shields

Business Editor


Chris Hill

Agricultural and Farming Editor


Shaun Lowthorpe

Business Publishing Editor


Sabah Meddings

Business Writer


Kate Royall

Business Writer


Duncan Abel

Business Development Manager

Business Most Read


Norfolk Future 50 EDP Business Awards Green 100

Newsletter Sign Up