Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with UK Trade & Investment and the British Consulate-General in New York/British Embassy, Washington DC, is organising a specialist business visit to the United Nations in New York and the World Bank in Washington in December.
In New York, UK companies will get the chance to meet procurement officers who acquire for UN headquarters and peacekeeping.
The chamber says most UN procurement orders are not advertised internationally and this is a great opportunity to make contact.
Companies who visit the UN regularly and make their faces and products/services known will have an advantage in winning UN contracts in the future. Goods purchased for the UN range from motor vehicles to food rations and sleeping bags.
The visit will include a seminar, with presentations from the UN Procurement Division and a group visit to the UN Office for Project Services, an advice session with the British Consulate-General in New York and a chance to network with members of the procurement staff.
The UN is one of the world's largest procuring entities and represents a vast global market for suppliers of goods and services. There are 39 different procuring agencies in the UN and between them they spend over $4 billion per year.
One Birmingham company who benefited from a similar UN visit in 2001 is Birmingham's oldest company, Firmin and Sons, established in 1677.
Chairman Fred Hsu said: "In 2001 we attended a business clinic regarding working with the UN followed by a mission to New York to meet procurement buyers from the UN in December 2001, which was the first UK mission to New York after 9/11. It was amazing - at what should have been a very difficult time, UKTI helped us to feel not like strangers but well informed, well prepared and ready to meet customers and contacts.
"The Consulate was brilliant and the whole experience really worthwhile in a globally competitive environment. It is a great way to get started and Firmin & Sons are hoping to attend again this year."
Following New York, the visit continues in Washington with a trip to the World Bank. The World Bank Group deals with loans and grants to developing countries. Recipient countries use the funds to buy goods and equipment, on construction projects and on consultancy services for projects.
Claire Gamage of Birmingham and Solihull Chamber of Commerce is arranging the trip.
* Interested companies should apply to Claire Gamage, Birmingham and Solihull International Trade Team, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce. Tel: 0121 450 4205 or e-mail c.gamage@ birminghamchamber.org.uk