Enterprise Nation are calling it the biggest sales opportunity for small business in 2015.
They’re talking about the government pledge to give 25% of supply contracts to small businesses.
In his article Andrew Lee, who has worked in government procurement says: “One of my big frustrations down the years has been reading bids from firms you know could be perfectly capable of delivering an excellent job or of bringing in some fresh ideas and innovations but somehow fail to be able to write down in a compelling and convincing way how and what they will bring to the table.”
So the problem is that the rules of engagement are wrong, it seems. The solution there is that the government changes the rules and its behaviour. Will it?
I’m not convinced. Firstly, this is just a pledge and target to get 25% of government contracts going to small businesses is just that: a hope that’s non-binding. It seems obvious that bigger firms have more chance of bagging such contracts because of their size and knowledge. So the success of this depends on how serious and committed government is on making good on the idea.
And what I’m not clear about is whether this is something that extends to local authorities, which does seem to be a sizeable, and probably more accessible, opportunity for SMEs. As far as I’m aware, there isn’t actually a requirement for a local council to shop locally when they need goods and services and certainly it strikes me as a no-brainer to upscore local services in the tender process.
As an example, my own local council recently needed an estate agency service and they chose a London firm. Needless to say, Brighton and Hove has plenty of such companies that could have taken that gig.
So we’ll suck it and see. The idea is a good one but is there political and administrative will in government to make it work? That, we just don’t know.
Is this an opportunity you’d like to plug into?