Local producers mean business at IFB2014

Small and medium enterprises from across the North West were given the opportunity to connect with one of the country’s leading supermarket giants, as the International Festival for Business (IFB) hosts its first Meet the Buyer event.

Justin Dooley

The initiative brought together 12 growing food and beverage producers from across the region with representatives from Tesco at a series of one-to-one meetings, held at The IFB Hub, located at No.1 Mann Island.

The companies, which were selected by the supermarket group from a large number of applicants, were each given half-an-hour to pitch their products and services, and received valuable business advice in return.

Simon Wingfield, Buying Manager at Tesco, said:

“It was fantastic to meet with so many interesting companies at the IFB 2014 Meet the Buyer initiative. We were enormously impressed with the high quality of businesses, and products, that we met with. There was certainly a huge amount of potential in what we saw.

“We’re driven to support local businesses as best we can, and it’s initiatives like this which really helps us understand the landscape of new products and local businesses out there. We were delighted to take part in the International Festival for Business Meet the Buyer event.”

Companies that took part in the initiative included New Brighton-based ice cream company Caffé Cream, Preston-based chocolate producers Madagascar Chocolate, and The Real Lancashire Black Pudding Company.

Justin Dooley (pictured), Co-Founder of Caffé Cream, said:

“The International Festival for Business has provided us with a unique platform to meet with high profile buyers and suppliers in our industry, people whom we would not have been able to reach otherwise. The scope of the IFB and the quality of the visitors that it has attracted has escalated our growth considerably.”

Neil Kelsall, Director at sustainable development company Raise Trade, producers of Madagascar Chocolate, added:

“This was an incredibly valuable opportunity. For me, the International Festival for Business has been a hugely beneficial way to connect with a whole range of businesses. We had a very valuable meeting with Tesco and received tremendously positive feedback.”

Sarah Lusty, director at The Real Lancashire Black Pudding Company, said:

“As a small family business with few contacts, it is quite difficult for us to secure meetings with the right buyers. The Meet the Buyer event at IFB 2014 provided us with a great opportunity to showcase our product range to influential buyers who can potentially make a huge difference to our business.”

Meet the Buyer

Hosted by IFB 2014, the Meet the Buyer service provides buyers with a simple and straightforward way of testing the UK market and connecting with new, innovative suppliers from across the country.

The event with Tesco formed the first of 24 Meet the Buyer sessions hosted by the IFB. Future sessions will see further SMEs and entrepreneurs paired with representatives from companies including Liverpool Community Health Trust (LCHT), seafood marketing company John West, and Aldi.

For more information about the Meet the Buyer initiative, please visit www.ifb2014.com

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