A huge free networking event is taking place at the Bethel Convention Centre in West Bromwich this Thursday (9 October). Opened by Lord Digby Jones, it will shine a national spotlight on West Midlands manufacturers – showing how our region’s supply chain is capable of providing everything needed to design, build and run a 21st-century hospital.

The all-day show is being jointly organised by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and Birmingham City Council. Their mutual aim is to forge strong links between the region’s supply chain and health sector consortia who design, build and run healthcare facilities.

sandwell mbcBirmingham

The event, which is free to attend, will include seminars and opportunities for SMEs to meet one-to-one with representatives from some of the UK’s leading contractors – including Carillion, Interserve and Laing O’Rourke. There will be around 100 exhibitors in the Bethel Convention Centre’s spacious foyer and adjoining suites, while keynote speeches will take place in the impressive auditorium.

The day will also see the launch of the West Midlands Virtual Hospital (WMVH). This pioneering 3D digital hospital has been developed by Sandwell Council to help local businesses benefit from work stemming from the build of a real-life hospital: the £353m Midland Metropolitan in Smethwick.

Users can click on any room, space, component or image and bring up details of a West Midlands business capable of supplying it. The WMVH has already helped Sandwell Council to scoop a ‘Small Business Friendly’ procurement category award from the Federation of Small Businesses.

Lord Jones said earlier in the summer that he was delighted to be attending the event.

“I’m looking forward to returning to West Bromwich and the Bethel this autumn, and celebrating the engineering excellence of suppliers in our region,” he said. “The organisers of ‘Meet the hospital bidders’ will bring together some of the leading lights in the construction industry – and with its buzzing atmosphere and location in the UK’s industrial heart, I know the Bethel will be the perfect place to do this.”

Councillor Tahir Ali, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for Development, Transport and the Economy, said: “I hope that as many of the region’s businesses as possible will sign up to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to win new business, build strong relationships and demonstrate to the key players in the healthcare world that the West Midlands truly means business.”

‘Meet the hospital bidders’ takes place on Thursday 9 October 2014 at the Bethel Convention Centre (Kelvin Way, West Bromwich B70 7JW) from 8:30am (for registration) to 3pm.

To register free for the event complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WMVH – this will also sign you up for the WMVH. Once you have completed it please email stephen_massey@sandwell.gov.uk with your details.

Please note that engagement with the West Midlands Virtual Hospital does not prove a firm’s capability or competence to supply to the Midland Metropolitan Hospital development nor does it constitute an application to be included in a bidder’s supply chain.