“Breaking down the gatekeepers”: Norfolk buyers and suppliers mix it up at networking event

Caroline Williams, chief executive of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, and Jason Williams, business

Caroline Williams, chief executive of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, and Jason Williams, business manager at the Chamber. Picture: Jessica Staufenberg - Credit: Archant

An annual networking event matched more than 300 suppliers and buyers from across the region in a drive to increase business between companies which might not know each other, said its organisers.

Meet the Buyer, set up five years ago by the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, saw about 50 suppliers selling to a range of businesses in meeting rooms at Norwich City Football Club.

Caroline Williams, chief executive of the Chamber, said the key was to allow professionals to approach companies they would not necessarily otherwise have access to.

'Buyers are always suprised at which suppliers are round the corner they don't know about,' said Ms Williams. 'And they are able to access a very senior set of businesses - this event gets rid of all the gatekeepers you're usually up against.'

The event, which will be run again next year, will include an international business day to incorporate the increasing number of East Anglian companies doing trade abroad.

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Michael Newall, head of commercial energy at Green Home Energy Solutions, said out of the five companies he had met so far, four were likely to be new business partners.

'For me, this has been really useful,' he said. 'It's not hard to network in Norfolk, there's something you do almost every day in the region to meet other businesses - but this is quite a good way of getting people together in one place.'

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The chamber, which is celebrating its 120th anniversary next year, ran the event on Thursday March 19.

How does your business network? Contact business writer Jessica Staufenberg on 01603772531 or email jessica.staufenberg@archant.co.uk or tweet @StaufenbergJ.

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