Local government can often be perceived as a challenging market to navigate due to its fragmented nature. However, figures from Tussell show that in 2019, local government buyers spent just under £2bn with Tech & Telecoms suppliers – an average of £166m each month. It is also a market where technology can directly improve the lives of citizens.
For new entrants to the local government market it can be difficult to know who to approach and councils are also inundated with tech solutions. techUK’s Local Public Services Committee, half of the members are SME’s, reviewed this challenge further looking at the opportunities a consortia or partnership approach could bring in helping tech companies get a foot in the door and deliver real meaningful innovation.
techUK’s Vice-Chair of the Local Public Services Committee, Natalie Duffield, CEO of IntechnologySmartCities outlines the approach:
“At techUK, we have come up with a novel approach to this problem, which we believe will help the transformation and delivery of public services for the benefit of those who rely on them the most. Our new approach promotes collaboration between innovative SMEs and large corporates to drive innovation and help tackle some of the big issues facing our society.”
“A common challenge for smaller companies is scale. While SMEs excel at innovation in the design of new products and services, they often lack the sales force to take their offering to the widest possible market. At the other end of the scale, big consulting firms offer exceptional professional services to a national client base but are typically less involved in research and development. To bridge the divide, we brought together representatives from large and small companies for a virtual partnering conference. It gave SMEs the opportunity to pitch their proposals to corporates currently providing services to local authorities. And it gave corporates the opportunity to expand the range of SMEs they can partner with in the growing market for digital transformation.”
Together with the Local Public Services Committee, techUK held its first virtual partnering and networking event that enabled SMEs to pitch ideas to companies currently providing services to local public services, and for large companies to expand the network of SMEs they work with to deliver services in this market.
Our first virtual pitchfest bought together 20 innovators in social care, who each pitched for 2 minutes. Our next event will be on the 29 July and will be on growing the smart place and cities ecosystem. We will be running these virtual pitchfests frequently and each time there will be a specific service focus.
Continuing the successful collaboration
Natalie adds how the event was a success for her company:
“As a result of the event, I had follow-up calls with three large corporates, including a multinational professional services giant, a global technology company and an international IT partner. They are working with local authorities across the UK and keen to expand their service offerings in support of their clients. Similarly, councils want to embrace innovation in their service delivery but minimise any risk with unknown suppliers... For us, it was a perfect way to engage with large corporates. The event was such a success and the feedback so positive, we plan to stage another in the coming months.”
We hope you can join us for our next Partnering & Networking: Connecting Smart Place ecosystem event on 29 July!
If you work in local government and would like to attend or run a pitch-fest session get in touch with techUK’s Head of Local Public Services Georgina.Maratheftis@techuk.org