BUSINESSES across Hampshire are being urged to take part in a networking event which organisers hope will raise millions for the region.

Last year, the South Hampshire Meet the Buyers event managed to generate an estimated £6.25m in deals for the county – and this year the team behind it hope to smash that record.

The seventh annual event at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday, March 6 has been coordinated by Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.

Last year, 110 suppliers and 27 buyers participated with more than 726 prearranged meetings taking place. The estimated value of resulting deals, £6.25m, easily beat the £4m generated in the year before.

Denise Barlow, Hampshire Chamber’s head of communication and marketing, said: “We want to do even better in 2013.

“The aim of the event is to give companies in South Hampshire a chance to sell into major local and regional purchasers.

“It is an unrivalled opportunity many would not otherwise have, to promote goods, products and services to major organisations, both public and private, that operate in and around the region.”

Hampshire County Council, New Forest District Council, Eastleigh Borough Council, Test Valley Borough Council, Winchester and Portsmouth city councils are all involved in the event. Cllr Peter Wall, portfolio holder for business and skills from Eastleigh Borough Council, said: “Meet the Buyers is an ideal way to gain direct access to key decision makers.

“The increasing value of deals generated at the event each year together with the continuing interest of buyers and suppliers clearly shows that there are huge benefits to both sides.”

To help business leaders prepare for Meet the Buyers and maximise the opportunities they will have, Hampshire Chamber is staging two pre-event workshops and a free training breakfast.

The workshops take place in Eastleigh and the New Forest on Wednesday, January 30, and Wednesday, February 6, respectively from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. The breakfast is in Eastleigh on Tuesday, February 26 from 7.30am to 9.45am.

For more details and to enquire about attending as either a buyer or supplier, contact Hampshire Chamber of Commerce on 0844 4990446, or email, victoria.cristea@hampshire or