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Customers and markets

If you would like some help with finding more customers, networking, and accessing new markets then there are several solutions listed here that you may find useful.

Help with networking

Discover Ashfield Ambassador Scheme

This scheme is managed by Discover Ashfield who are a partnership organisation bringing local businesses, community organisations and Ashfield District Council together to help promote Ashfield as a great place to live and work.

They are keen to add to their network of ambassadors to help promote the benefits of our region. Some of the duties that ambassadors are involved with include:

  • representing our district at business network events
  • giving talks to local schools
  • and promoting everything that’s great about Ashfield through your own personal and business connections.

If you would like to become an ambassador and represent Ashfield then in return you will gain a series of new skills through working with local partners, organising events and undertaking mini-missions.

Ambassadors will have an opportunity to widen their own networks, helping to shape and create the best opportunities for our local area and will become much more connected within Ashfield's community and the local council.

Find out more about the Ambassador Scheme or contact Lana Mills, Project Officer by:

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:

Midlands Aerospace Alliance

An industry membership organisation that offers advice and guidance around developing aerospace market opportunities, identifying technology development partners and improving operational performance, they also have access to grant fundings. They also influence government and represent the industry.

You can find out more on the Midlands Aerospace Alliance website or contact them by:

Help with finding contracts and procurement tenders

Nottinghamshire Tender Search

Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) has a useful tender page and it shows the procurement process that applicants need to follow. 

There is also a web page that you can access to view available NCC contracts that are £25K or higher and which you can bid for. View the NCC Tender Search.

Government contracts finder

If you’re looking to find new business opportunities then you can search for tenders and contracts through various web portals. 

A new email alerts service called Find a Tender is now available and this is used to post and view public sector procurement notices.

Businesses can still use existing portals to view low value or location specific notices such as:

  • Contracts Finder
  • MOD Defence Contracts Online
  • Public Contracts Scotland
  • Sell2Wales
  • and eTendersNI.

Find out more on the GOV Contracts Finder

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’s, also many new to tendering can make the mistake of applying for multiple tenders thinking quantity is better than quality and again 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. 

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: