Trade group Mersey Maritime is urging small businesses in the North West to seize the opportunities in the wind farm sector ahead of the Offshore Wind Conference at Arena & Convention Centre Liverpool on Wednesday and Thursday.
Jim Teasdale, chief executive of Mersey Maritime, said the conference on 29 and 30 June, presents a 'golden opportunity' for small businesses to make contacts and see how they can supply the market.
In a bid to promote the SME sector, Mersey Maritime is providing a stand for eight small firms at the event which is expected to attract more than 160 exhibitors and 2,500 delegates.
Teasdale said: "The offshore renewables sector is due to see billions of pounds in investment over the next two decades with Merseyside at the heart of developments.
"However, we need maritime SMEs to grasp supply chain opportunities now and start preparing for the demands of the new market. It is terrific to see a major conference come to Merseyside bringing many of the key players from the sector from across the UK and the world. We urge maritime sector business owners to come along and see how their firm could benefit."
The conference will be built around two days of sessions examining the UK's position as the world's leading offshore wind market. Keynote speakers include Lord Browne of Madingley, managing director, Riverstone Holdings, Sir Ian Wrigglesworth, deputy chairman of the Government's Regional Growth Fund and Charles Hendry MP, minister of state for energy and climate change.
Neil Mellenchip, group business development manager of Birkenhead-based Seaking Electrical, said: "We are very excited by the offshore sector and this conference. This is exactly the kind of event we need. We want to meet decision makers where we can explain how we help install and maintain electrical equipment. Specifically we're looking to work on substations and vessels servicing the wind farms off the west coast and beyond. This is going to be a key growth area for us."
Ulfar Norddahl, sales director of Bromborough-based Merseyside Ships Stores, said: "This conference is about getting access to people. Being on the Mersey Maritime stand is a massive help as it gives you that platform to engage with people. We are already in the offshore market offering a complete range of provision stores. We know this is what the wind farm sector needs and we see growth across the UK."
The eight Merseyside firms sharing Mersey Maritime's stand number 195 are Hughes Sub Surface Engineering, a diving and marine contractors from Bootle; Seaking Electrical, an electrical design and installation firm from Birkenhead; Merseyside Ships Stores Ltd (MSS), a supplier of technical, deck and engine stores and provisions and catering to the offshore industry from Bromborough; Ledwood Technology, a radar systems company from Birkenhead; S C Chambers & Co Ltd, a renewable sector brokerage company from Liverpool; Sureswift, a workwear specialist from Bromborough; John Percival Marine Associates & Hoylake Sailing School, a provider of training and consultancy in marine and offshore work boats markets and McKennas Insulation, a thermal insulation company based in Liverpool.
Mersey Maritime is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and the North West Development Agency to create and deliver a sector development programme for the maritime industry on Merseyside that will support productivity, business growth and job creation.