A key yearly business gathering billed as the area's biggest annual sales event will be held next month.

For the 13th Gatwick Diamond Meet the Buyers event will be held at the Arora Hotel in Crawley on Thursday, July 10 .

The event brings together local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with prospective ‘buyers,’ who are looking to procure the specific goods and services they offer.

Organised by Gatwick Airport, West Sussex County Council, Horsham District Council, Crawley Borough Council and the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, Meet the Buyers is designed to benefit local businesses, saving them time and money by bringing potential customers with a current business need under one roof for one day, and giving them a platform to showcase the local supply chains available in West Sussex. Through a series of pre-booked one-to-one meetings, businesses can gain direct access to the decision-makers from 35 leading regional buyers, including Nestlé, Gatwick Airport, Thales UK, Siemens and the Ministry of Defence. The organisers are looking to build on the success of last year’s event.

That saw more than 1,000 meetings take place, and post-event sales of £3 million for contracts ranging from £500 to £1.4 million secured.

West Sussex County Council, which has announced keen support for the event, will be attending this year as a buyer, in an effort to meet local suppliers. Representatives from Trading Standards, the Business Information Library Service and Economic Development will also be on hand offering information and advice to businesses. West Sussex County Council leader, Louise Goldsmith, said: “We are proud to once again be sponsoring Meet the Buyer, alongside our partners.”

She said: “We’re also looking forward to being at the event as a buyer ourselves - it’s a great chance for us to talk to a range of high-quality local businesses that we may not otherwise have had the opportunity to meet.”

She added: “A vibrant local economy is key to a strong future for West Sussex, and that means supporting local business and encouraging others to do business within the county. “We want to lead by example and source local suppliers where possible, whilst still obtaining the best possible value for West Sussex residents.” Meeting appointments are still available. For details of how to book, as well as the ‘Buyers Catalogue’, which includes details of the contracts on offer, visit the event website at: www.gatwickdiamondmtb.co.uk