DEALS worth more than £13million were generated at a match making business event organised by Hampshire Chamber.

Firms pitched for a share of contracts from 30 major public and private sector buyers at the annual Meet the Buyer event, held at the Ageas Bowl near Southampton.

The day, specifically designed to bring procurement officers face to face with local suppliers, was coordinated by Hampshire Chamber with funding from local authorities, including Hampshire County Council.

Opening the event was Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage, who is a member of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee.

She said: “Access to markets is one of the key pillars of business success and that’s why events such as this are so important.

“The partnership between Hampshire Chamber and local authorities is great because of their shared, vested interest in making businesses successful.”

Hampshire Chamber chief executive Stewart Dunn said: “Meet the Buyer is a much needed opportunity for many small and medium sized businesses to meet public and private sector buyers in one place at one time.

“It is an ideal way to make face-to-face approaches and for buyers it is a perfect chance to find deals on innovative products and services.”

The range of business activities under discussion at this year’s event spanned construction, building maintenance, engineering, electrical services, estate management, office supplies, air conditioning systems and waste management.

Private sector buyers included Balfour Beatty, Esso Petroleum, and Hippo Waste Management.

Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, Cllr Seán Woodward, said: “It is great to see contracts being won by local businesses, so creating local jobs and boosting the local economy.”

Last year’s Meet the Buyer, staged by the Chamber at the same venue, generated deals worth an estimated £7 million. This was £750,000 up on the year before.