Earlier this week we were delighted to publish our latest report, Procuring for Innovation and Growth, which provides some recommendations on how to improve SME access to the public sector market. The report is based on the findings from our fourth Govtech SME Survey, where we asked small and mid-sized businesses to identify the barriers small businesses face in doing business with the public sector market.
Respondents to our survey were keen to highlight that some initiatives designed to improve SME access to this market that have allowed smaller businesses a chance to compete openly for opportunities. However, the overall picture from the report is pretty clear: there is still a great deal to be done to ensure that Government can access the range of capabilities that govtech SMEs can bring.
In order to explore the report’s findings and recommendations, we convened a roundtable discussion of public sector and industry. Our expert included Martin Traynor, the Cabinet Office’s newly appointed Small Business Crown Representative; Richard Clarke, Director of Fivium and and SME Vice-Chair of techUK’s Central Government Council; Elizabeth Vega, CEO Informed Solutions and member of the Cabinet Office’s SME Advisory Panel; and Peter Kirwan, Strategic Category Director – Technology Products and Services at the Crown Commercial Service.
Regarding the results from our survey, it was particularly disappointing that this year respondents seem to have even less confidence than last that the Government will meet its SME supplier target in the next five years. However, as the conversation revealed, while there is much to do to help Government hit its 33 percent SME target by 2022, there are reasons to be cheerful. Clearly there is no silver bullet here, but the feeling was that the recommendations in this report could go some way to improving SME access to the market. And with renewed focus on this issue across Government, we hope that 2019 is the year we start to make real strides forward here. If we can get more SMEs supplying to the public sector, we can seize the govtech opportunity and make the UK as well known for govtech as it is for fintech.
If you’d like to get involved in techUK’s Govtech SME work, please do get in touch!