Expo 2020 Dubai maps path for food and beverage SMEs
Expo 2020 Dubai’s BusinessConnect F&B session has marked the first step on the journey to Expo for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food and beverage sector.
The session, which saw more than 100 SMEs take part, outlined the food and beverage pathway and timeline including encouraging them to sign up to the Expo 2020 Dubai e-Sourcing portal so they can keep track of all the current and upcoming procurement opportunities.
These opportunities include taking a share of an estimated AED 2 billion in onsite food and beverage sales generated by visitors attending Expo from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021. In addition to this, an estimated five million meals will be needed to keep the Expo 2020 workforce fed during the six months of Expo.
The Expo 2020 Dubai timeline for SMEs to bid for contracts to deliver F&B services at Expo is as follows: register on e-Sourcing portal (now); deliver SME business profiles (Q3, 2017); primary catering operator package releases (Q3-Q4, 2017); meet the Buyer event with lead catering operators (Q1-Q2, 2018); for selected SMEs, pitch your concept (Q1-Q2, 2018); negotiations and awards (Q1-Q2, 2018); SME partnership connections defined (Q2, 2018); planning phase (Q4, 2017-Q4, 2019); and testing phase (Q1-Q2, 2020).
“This BusinessConnect F&B session is just the beginning of the journey for SMEs in the food and beverage sector to Expo 2020 Dubai. Not only does it enable us to explain timelines and present opportunities to the SMEs, we also get to hear their questions and incorporate their feedback into our planning. Through these sessions we are delivering value to SMEs by encouraging networking and providing them with a platform to connect with each other, therefore boosting opportunities across the region before, during and after Expo,” said Manal AlBayat, Senior Vice President, Business Development and Integration at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Up to 85,000 meals are expected to be served per hour during Expo 2020 Dubai, across 30,000 square metres of front-of-house space for food and beverages (F&B). Expo will therefore provide an opportunity for F&B firms to showcase the many cuisines available and the cultural diversity of the UAE.
“This session provided us with a detailed understanding of the procurement process and the fantastic opportunity which Expo is providing SMEs like us the chance to be a part of,” said Mansoor Al Bastaki, Founder and CEO of MAB Food Trucks, a food truck supplier based in the UAE. “We know this is just the start, but with more than three years to go to Expo 2020 Dubai it is great to see Expo planning ahead and inviting SMEs to get involved so early in the process.”
Expo 2020 Dubai is committed to supporting the SME sector across the region as part of its plans for a lasting economic legacy. Last year, it announced that 20 per cent of direct and indirect spend for the Expo will be awarded to SMEs.
“The numbers and the magnitude of opportunities are huge,” said Ahmed Al Mandari, Co-owner at Savannah BBQ, an African cuisine provider based in Muscat, Oman. “The option of working with Expo 2020 gives SMEs the chance to take advantage of new opportunities and explore new markets that will open doors for them at an international level.”
The BusinessConnect series aims to shift the traditional model of procurement to one based more on the value of collaboration, with each edition delivered in the format of an open dialogue and focused on a specific aspect of Expo 2020 Dubai.
To date, it has brought together senior representatives from a wide spectrum of industries to explore critical areas such as marketing and communications, ICT, architecture and design, real estate and youth.
To find out more about upcoming opportunities for participation in the tender process, visit the Expo 2020 Dubai e-Sourcing portal at: https://esource.expo2020dubai.ae and follow Expo’s social media channels.