FOR anyone who has ever been self-employed Paul Mander’s business premise sounds like manna from heaven.

Bloom, may be quirky name but it is a seriously ambitious business.

Bloom works with more than 200 public sector organisations, including a number based in the North-East including Newcastle City Council and Durham County Council. One of Bloom’s key missions is to ensure regional micro businesses and SMEs get a fair chance to pitch for professional services projects from very small to multi-million pound opportunities and, more importantly, offer a consistent procurement approach across their growing client base.

Paul Mander, who graduated from Kent University with a management degree, joined Bloom two years ago.

He started his career in the public sector buying residential care for adults with learning disabilities for a large county council moving quickly into procurement systems, financial services and collaborative procurement in higher education.

Paul originally moved to the North-East in 2009 working closely with local authorities at the time to identify savings opportunities and support collaboration across the region.

Having joined Bloom as the head of client services, Paul’s new role as Local Government and NE Service Director involves working with the core operations team ensuring Bloom continue to support organisations to meet their own objectives around use of local micro and SME suppliers, retain control of professional services spend as well as securing value for money.

The business was originally headquartered in Sunderland Software City, but recently moved to Newcastle’s Quayside to cope with the ever-expanding team. Despite being in relatively new offices even these are being extended currently as the staff numbers are set to grow again in the coming weeks.

Bloom was launched in 2012 on the back of the North-East Procurement Organisation’s specialist professional services contract NEPRO.

In 2015, it was awarded the second iteration of this framework via a fully OJEU compliant tender process and it has blazed a trail ever since. Paul said: “We work across the UK helping ensure large scale public sector organisations get good value for money for their professional services spend as well as opening them up to innovative ways of working via a diverse range of suppliers.

“What I particular enjoy about my work is that we are able to be flexible to deliver exactly what a client wants. My team and I work hard to make sure projects are feasible, within the budget available. We also really nail down what will count as a success from it and the impact this will have for the buying organisation. All too often people don’t fully understand how to quantify success once projects are completed. “

Since it was established Bloom has blossomed, as its name suggests and doubled its workforce up to 60.

The firm has procured services for more than 230 organisations around the country and helped deliver savings of more than £35m for the public sector.

Five minutes with... Paul Mander

Favourite North-East building and why?

As somebody who loves the sea, I enjoy exploring the coast and following its renovation, Spanish City in Whitley Bay is a building I am very fond of from an architectural perspective. And of course, the amazing afternoon tea on offer inside.

What was your first job and how much did you get paid?

I worked in a local restaurant washing dishes for Sunday lunch. I forget what I was paid but my washing up skills have remained to this day.

What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner?

I love a roast dinner with all of the trimmings so make sure you’ve got an adjustable belt.

What would your superpower be?

I would love to be able to teleport. I like to travel and always seem to be rushing, this would certainly save me a lot of time and mean I could see more places.

Best piece of advice in business you’ve been given?

Don’t be concerned by change, it’s inevitable so embrace it.

What was the last band you saw live?

Ocean Colour Scene at the O2 Academy Newcastle. It was a blast from the past but they haven’t lost it.