The Federation of Small Businesses has held an online business support session with representatives from HS2. This provided a chance for FSB members and businesses based in the West Midlands to hear about current progress of the project and to find out about forthcoming supply chain opportunities relevant for the self-employed and small firms.
Over 50 businesses joined the call and heard how the work has continued over recent weeks with formal notice to proceed being provided in April.
Jonathan Lord, Senior Community Engagement Manager at HS2 Ltd informed those attending about the major works programmes taking place in the West Midlands over the next phase of the project and how this will temporarily disrupt some of the local major road networks. He also set out the scale of the HS2 project, with the completed project seeing 553km of new track and 18 trains per hour from London to other parts of the country. There have been more than 2000 suppliers engaged in the work so far.
The audience also heard from Victoria Roberts, Business Engagement Manager at HS2 Ltd on forthcoming supply chain opportunities and the importance of the project in creating opportunities for small businesses.
Victoria Roberts, Business Engagement Manager for HS2 said “We expect there to be 400,000 supply chain contract opportunities for UK businesses created across Phase One and around two thirds of these will be SMEs. We have already seen the boost small businesses have received from being involved with the project in the West Midlands with 279 business involved and 78% of these SMEs. Over the course of the project there will be a wide range of potential opportunities for small businesses. These range from the creative services, food and accommodation through to transport and logistics and site services. It’s important to us that local businesses benefit and we would therefore encourage any small business to look out for these opportunities and register their details with ourselves and on the HS2 opportunities portal”
Small firms across the West Midlands were encouraged to register on the Competefor.com/hs2 website for information on opportunities.
During peak construction HS2 will require 30,000 people to design and build the railway at multiple construction sites along the line of route. They will all, at various times need places to stay, food to eat and many other services and amenities. HS2 is keen to find out more about what the local business community can offer and small firms that are able to provide some of the key services that contractors and workers will be looking for, were also encouraged to register and inform HS2 about their business on the HS2 website
Lee Osborne, FSB Development Manager said: “This session was a great opportunity for FSB members to find out more about the opportunities to be involved in the project and get on board with HS2. With many businesses experiencing a tough time currently it is important that small firms can benefit from this project, so it was encouraging to hear about the number and range of supply chain contract opportunities that will be made available. This was an informative event and we would encourage small businesses from across the West Midlands to register their interest in these opportunities and provide details about their business to HS2.”
Information and updates on upcoming works and activity which may impact on local road networks can be found at the following community websites in the West Midlands:
HS2 is also running a series of 8 free weekly webinars so that local businesses can find out more about the ways they can get ‘HS2 ready’. These sessions will help businesses understand more about the HS2 supply chain, how it works, and how businesses can work with HS2. More information on these sessions can be found here