Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Procurement drive for small businesses
Buyers will be able to attract more potential bidders when a free trial begins today to draw thousands more small businesses to http://www.supply2.gov.uk, the national lower-value contracts website.
The http://www.supply2.gov.uk website has over 75,000 registered small businesses looking for lower-value public sector contracts typically worth under £100,000.
Business Minister Shriti Vadera said:
"Encouraging more small businesses to register for opportunities will mean buyers benefit from increased competition and access to a wider range of suppliers.
"Many small businesses are more innovative, have lower costs and present better value for contracts than larger firms."
John Wright, Federation of Small Businesses National Chairman said:
"The announcement of a free trial for small businesses to get access to public sector contracts is very welcome news. We supported the Supply2 initiative from the outset and we hope that this free trial period will encourage more small businesses to try their hand at delivering goods and services to the public sector.
"But local authorities and government departments must play their part too by making sure that more small business opportunities are advertised on Supply2. Opening up public sector procurement to the UK's 4.5 million small businesses can and should eradicate the false assumption that biggest is always best."
Registration for public sector buyers is free. Buyers with an existing procurement website can link their service directly to http://www.supply2.gov.uk.
The drive to attract more of Britain's 4.5 million small businesses to http://www.supply2.gov.uk is part of a wider strategy to help reduce the barriers faced by smaller firms when bidding to supply to government.
The Enterprise Strategy, released in March, featured a range of measures to boost the number of small firms competing for public procurement.
An advisory committee, headed by Anne Glover, will look at ways to reduce barriers to that small businesses face when competing for public sector contracts and the practicality of setting a goal for them to win 30 per cent of public sector business within five years.
The Strategy also included an announcement that the rules for government procurement will be changed to allow companies, particularly small firms, to use invoice financing to compete for public contracts.
Notes to editors
* Since it launched in June 2006, http://www.supply2.gov.uk has published more than 79,000 contract notices from over 5,000 public sector buyers including local government, health, education and housing authorities, emergency services and the Olympic Delivery Authority.
* Supply2.gov.uk is owned by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. It is managed by procurement solutions service provider BiP Solutions Ltd. For the first time, businesses are able to view contracts in a single location, reducing the time taken to source opportunities. Contract information in a business's chosen location is available free of charge.
* The free trial for small and medium sized businesses will run between May and July 2008 and applies to new registrations only.
* For more information about the Department for Business' Enterprise Strategy visit http://www.berr.gov.uk/bbf/enterprise-smes/enterprise-framework/index.html.
* The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK business succeed in an increasingly competitive world. It promotes business growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda and champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively priced energy supplies.