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West Midlands scheme aims to give SMEs an advantage in HS2 procurement process

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SMEs in the West Midlands will benefit from a new EU-funded pilot scheme that aims to help them capitalise on HS2 contracts.

Phase 1 of the high-speed line – which was given royal assent in February – will terminate in Birmingham and to help businesses in the area engage with the tendering process, the University of Wolverhampton’s West Midlands Manufacturing Club (WMMC) has launched ‘Get on Track’ to help firms identify and capitalise on supply chain opportunities.

The free test scheme is being part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and includes three, one-day classroom based workshops, live webinars and dedicated one-to-one telephone support delivered by rail tender specialists Thornton & Lowe.

WMMC is looking for 10 SMEs to participate in the pilot on selected dates during August and September, with the full programme expected to cost up to £3,000 when it officially launches in November this year.

WMMC’s business development manager Rebecca Macdonald said, ‘Located at the heart of the planned HS2 network, the spotlight will inevitably be on manufacturers from the region to take their share of the available spend but we recognise some may not be at ease with formal tender processes.

‘The common misconception is that HS2 is only open to major players.  ‘Get On Track’ has been specifically designed to make the opportunity more accessible to Midlands SMEs; equipping them with the know-how and more importantly the confidence to tap into the wealth of opportunities HS2 can present for them too.’

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