Expo 2020 Dubai maps path for food and beverage SMEs at BusinessConnect session

Expo 2020 Dubai’s highly successful 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 AED2 billion in onsite food and beverage sales generated by visitors attending Expo from 20th October 2020 to 10th 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.

Manal AlBayat, Senior Vice President, Business Development and Integration at Expo 2020 Dubai, said, "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."

At peak, 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. As a result, Expo will be a major opportunity for F&B firms, as well as a chance to showcase the many cuisines and cultural diversity of the UAE.

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 percent of direct and indirect spend for the Expo will be awarded to SMEs.

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.