Those looking to meet the varied needs of government departments, agencies and other components of the public sector got the chance to talk business at the annual Meet the Buyers Reverse Trade Show in St. John’s.
Held Tuesday afternoon at the Comfort Inn on Airport Road, the event brought together suppliers and representatives of regional associations to learn more about what they may be able to offer procurers from the public sector.
Minister of Innovation, Business, and Rural Development Keith Hutching was on hand for the official opening of the one-day event.
“For us as a provincial government, we want to see more Newfoundland and Labrador companies successfully bidding on government contracts and to equip each of you here today with the necessary information to make that happen,” he said before those assembled at the trade show.
Hutchings made note of the public sector’s significance as a market for businesses. He said the provincial government spends over $400 million annually on items such as office supplies, educational tools, materials to maintain highways and public facilities.
Adding in the needs of Crown corporations and government agencies brings that figure above
$1 billion, added Hutchings.
Partnering with the department on Tuesday’s event were the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) and the Northeast Avalon Regional Economic Development Board (NAREDB).
NAREDB executive director Christine Rowe said Tuesday’s gathering supports economic growth for local businesses.
“It is through events such as this that opportunities can be identified, partnerships forged and business growth supported,” she said.
“In today’s world it’s not so much about the availability of information and knowledge as it is about accessing the information and knowing who to talk to. The buyers here today have the information and know the opportunities.”
Representatives of government departments, agencies, Crown corporations and post-secondary institutions, along with Eastern Health and the Eastern School District, were on hand.
Federal and municipal levels of government were also represented through Public Works and Government Services Canada and the City of St. John’s.