Dozens of businesses are hoping to clinch new contracts following the launch of Cumbria’s Supply Chain Opportunity Club, writes Cumbria Chamber of Commerce (sponsored content).

The initiative, set up by Cumbria Business Growth Hub, aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) secure work with larger businesses and public sector organisations.

Its first event was at TSP Engineering in Workington last week.

Around 30 SMEs – selected for their potential to work with TSP – attended the session to hear about contact opportunities and learn about TSP’s procurement process.

They also held one-to-one meetings with the procurement team and toured the site.

Among them was Danny Tanfield, managing director of SwanTek in Kendal, a supplier of specialist chemicals, solvents and lubricants.

He said: “This was a well-focused event for a larger organisation to open up their procurement process to local businesses.

“These events can often fall into a box-ticking activity for companies looking to be seen to be doing their bit for the local economy. 

“But I got the sense that TSP were genuinely looking to strengthen their supply chain and was heartened to know that they had targets of putting up to 45 per cent of their overall spend back into local SME businesses.

"We had a great conversation with TSP’s buying team about our products that have been approved for use on Rolls-Royce projects.

“I found the tour to be informative and got to network with one of TSP’s existing suppliers, which I hope leads on to other business.”

TSP Engineering was equally delighted with the event.

Chief executive John Coughlan, said: “The Supply Chain Opportunity Club is of real value to our business, allowing us to open up our procurement opportunities to SMEs across Cumbria.

“It makes it easy for these businesses to gain access to our buyers. We have made cost-effective connections with vendors who, otherwise, we would have had to spend much time and resource seeking out and trying to engage with."

Membership of the club is open to any Cumbrian SME.

Eva Foran, supply chain development manager at Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “The club complements the services the growth hub offers through our Supply Chain Gateway project.

“We can offer one-to-one support from advisers, training workshops, online assets and access to funding.

“The Supply Chain Opportunity Club adds another string to our bow and we’re delighted with the first event and the feedback from those that attended.”

The club’s next session is with supermarket Booths and is aimed at SMEs in the food and drink sector.

Businesses attending will be able to:

  • Meet the Booths’ head buyer and the buying team
  • Find out how to supply to Booths and get their business ‘retail ready’
  • Network with businesses with complementary products and services to generate new leads
  • Get exclusive access in one-to-one sessions with the buying team
  • Find out what business support is available from Cumbria Business Growth Hub and other partners

It takes place on Tuesday January 29 from 9.30am to 12.30pm, at the North Lakes Hotel, Penrith.

To register for the event and find out more about the Supply Chain Opportunity Club, email