A FREE online procurement service has been hailed for helping thousands of businesses.

Economy secretary, Ken Skates has congratulated the Welsh Government’s free online procurement service, Sell2Wales, on helping businesses to secure 22,000 public and private sector contracts.

He said: "This important milestone demonstrates Sell2Wales’ success in providing an easy to use link between business and the public sector at large."

Every year, more than £6 billion pounds worth of opportunities are advertised through Sell2Wales, which is part of Business Wales, the Welsh Government’s flagship business support programme.

And this figure is rising as a growing number of public and private sector buyers are using Sell2Wales to make their tenders more accessible.

Of the 22,000 contracts awarded so far Sell2Wales has reported that approximately two thirds have been to Welsh suppliers, and that 75 per cent of these have been to Welsh small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

The 22,000-contract milestone was reached with the awarding of work to Aberystwyth-based Aber Heating Engineers who won a contract to supply the National Library of Wales with chillers, worth over £280,000.

Mr Skates, AM for Clwys South, added: "The range of contracts available via the platform is huge, encompassing everything from engineering, marketing and IT, to construction, health and safety advice and professional consultancy, and offering opportunities for companies of all shapes and sizes.

"It is particularly heartening to see the number of Welsh SME’s securing business through the service."

Sell2Wales offers businesses the chance to work with every aspect of the public sector in Wales including; local authorities, the NHS, universities and colleges, and UK and Welsh Government departments and agencies.

Mr Skates added: “Sell2Wales has become an important part of our new business strategy. To think we are the winners of the 22,000th contract award is mind boggling and we are delighted to be a part of the Sell2Wales success story.”