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Customers and markets

We have a gathered together resources on support, grants and initiatives help your existing business grow through support on finance and cash flow. 

Help with networking

Ashfield and Mansfield 2020

This is a local business networking organisation with 170 members that aims to support relationships and partnerships, working between local businesses and public sector organisations.

Find out more about Ashfield and Mansfield 2020 or contact Ella McManus by:

Nottingham Manufacturers Network

The Nottinghamshire Manufacturing Network (NMN) is an established peer-to-peer membership organisation consisting of a diverse range of manufacturing businesses.

Set up in 2014, NMN has expanded and now represents nearly 2,000 employees. They like to encourage and facilitate contact between managing directors, business owners, industry specialists, interns and apprentices based in the East Midlands to share best practice.

They want to promote growth in manufacturing, help members to address commercial problems. Find out more about the Nottingham Manufacturers Network or contact them by: 

Ingenuity SME business network

There are over 1,800 members representing all sectors and businesses across Nottinghamshire and beyond. Attend our programme of training and events, including talks, workshops and regular business breakfasts.

Network and connect with other local businesses, meet business engagement and academic staff who can help you use our knowledge to develop your business and get an insight into the cutting-edge research taking place at the University.

Find out more about Ingenuity or contact them by:

Nottinghamshire County Council

There are a host of local business clubs operating across Nottinghamshire and if you would like to know more about those active in your area, please contact them by:

The Federation for Small Businesses

The Federation for Small Businesses (FSB) are a business pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of the self-employed and owners of small firms.

The FSB also delivers a wide range of high quality business services to its members.

Find out more about The Federation for Small Businesses or contact Melanie Ulyat (Vice Chair) by:

Help with accessing new markets

The Department of International Trade

The Department of International Trade (DiT) can help you to develop relationships with overseas trade partners, negotiating trade agreements, setting policies, and provides business with information and guidance. They work through local partner organisations such as Enterprise Nation and the Chamber of commerce.

Find out more on the The Department of International Trade website. 

Open to Export

A free community-driven service that gives access to a wealth of information and experts, helping you to consider new markets and find new customers.

If you have a question about exporting, then post it on the Open to Export platform. UK trade officers in Embassies and High Commissions, as well as recognised experts around the world will respond and help you take your business overseas.

Find out more on the Open to Export website. 

East Midlands Chamber of Commerce

Provides SMEs with regional networking opportunities, specialist industry forums, staff training workshops and they can provide advice on how to develop overseas trade, apprenticeships, and can assist you to market your services between members.

They also have access to business marketing databases that can be used to help source business and contacts to help grow your customer base.

Find out more on the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce website or contact them by:

NatWest Business Builder

This is a Free online portal which not only gives access to important business workshops, but it also connects you to a Facebook community of over 6000 businesses across the UK.

Contact Amander Launder, Local Enterprise Manager at:

Help with finding contracts and procurement tenders

Ashfield District Council

Would like to encourage more local businesses to become suppliers for Council services/products. We spend around £35M on procurement each year and have 3 x levels of procurement: up to £5,000, over £5000 and over £25,000. Each level of spend is managed in slightly different ways, however most often overlooked is the up to £5,000 spend. This doesn’t require any complicated tender applications; procurement contracts can be authorised directly by Department Heads on the basis of quotes. We are looking to compile a directory of local businesses which we may approach for quotes. If you would like to be added to this directory a form will be available in the new year with details of our procurement categories.

East MidlandsTender Search

Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) post their tenders on this portal and so do many other public sector organisations. You can register for alerts and have access to tenders that are outside the East Midlands region.

View the East Midlands Tender Search.

Government contracts finder

The Government contracts finder allows you to search for information about public sector contracts worth over £10,000.

You can use this service to:

  • search for contract opportunities in different sectors
  • find out what’s coming up in the future
  • look up details of previous tenders and contracts.

Whilst you can search and apply for contracts without an account, you are able to create an account to get email updates and save your searches.

Find out more on the GOV Contracts Finder

If you’re looking for higher value tenders above £118,000 in the UK then you would need to use the Find a Tender service instead.

Businesses can still use existing portals such as: Ministry of Defence contracts, Public Contracts Scotland, Sell2Wales and eTendersNI to view low value or location specific notices.

Free Tender Search

If you looking to find business opportunities then it’s worth viewing the following popular tender search portals.

You can also register for email alerts that will help you identify suitable contracts in your chosen areas.

When considering applying for a tender you must make sure not only can you deliver it but more importantly can you win it!

A lot of time can be lost trying to go for tenders when businesses don't meet the essential criteria. Many businesses new to tendering can make the mistake of applying for multiple tenders thinking quantity is better than quality, but this approach will not yield a positive result. It is better to think in terms of the strongest application you can submit. 

There are a number of useful websites that can help you find suitable tenders in the related links section of this web page.

HS2 Contract Opportunities

More than 2,000 businesses in the UK have already found work on HS2. Contracts will be available for different industries, not just construction – for example catering, software and technology, services, and support.

There will be thousands of contract opportunities for small and medium businesses; visit the Competefor website below to see what’s currently available, and check back to see as new ones appear.

Procurement Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022

There are contract opportunities available for local businesses to support projects please see the web-link.  You will need to register on this website to gain full access and view all the tenders, however once you have an account set-up, you will be able to see a list of winning suppliers so far. You will also be able to make contact with these suppliers to see if you can help deliver any projects as a sub-contractor.

Ways to contact business support

The best way to contact us is through our online form so we have the right information to help you as quickly as possible. Contact us by: