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Opportunities for Small to Medium Sized Enterprises

Many Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are unaware of the business opportunities to be gained from tendering for Government contracts.

The public sector spends a huge amount each year and is always looking for new suppliers. However small your business, there are always opportunities to be a supplier to this market. Even if you are already supplying one part of the public sector, it is worth looking for opportunities in other areas.

The public sector employs more than 25% of the workforce in the UK and includes:

  • central government departments and agencies
  • the NHS and its local trusts
  • the Ministry of Defence
  • the Northern Ireland Assembly, the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Executive
  • local authorities
  • universities and colleges

Whatever your business, there may be a market for it somewhere within the public sector, whether through a direct contract or by becoming a subcontractor.

The process is often percieved to be very complex and this, combined with government regulation issues leads to many small businesses either ignoring the market for Government contracts or submitting poorly researched applications.

In light of this concern and to help small businesses get the maximum benefit from public sector contracts, the Government has produced a guide entitled 'Tendering for Government Contracts – A Guide for Small Businesses'.  If you work in a small business, this guide aims to help you in three ways.

Firstly, it will tell you where to find opportunities within the public sector.

Secondly, it will explain how you can bid for work.

Thirdly, it will give you advice on the further contacts you may need to make.

The Government is also eager to simplify the process and the guide gives detailed information on how to apply and ensure a successful application. Several areas where SMEs are being encouraged to apply include the telecom building market, IT sector and the catering and healthcare market.

Useful information about accessing lower value contracts on-line can be found on the Government's Contract Finder site.

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