We talk to Hugh Griffiths, Chief Executive of Inzpire and member of the SME Panel for the Cabinet Office to find out about his role in boosting government spending with small and medium sized enterprises.
Can you tell us a bit about Inzpire?
We are a defence company. Started in 2005 with a single contract, the company has grown, year on year, to now deliver a mix of products, technical services and training to the UK Armed Forces, nationally and internationally, predominantly in the aviation sector. Around 80% of our employees are drawn from an armed forces background, because of their intrinsic understanding our customer’s environment and their inherent sense of purpose, loyalty and professionalism. Inzpire is a leading proponent of the “Whole Force” which is a blend of fulltime military, the Reserves, academia and industry brought together to offer the most robust, cost effective, professional and enduring solutions to the Armed Forces. It is an entrepreneurial success story, a business that has grown from 3 people to 170 in 14 years, and that has recently secured QinetiQ as a majority investor. Inzpire is exporting internationally both in services and in tech.
What’s been Inzpire’s biggest achievement so far?
Ours is a David and Goliath story and we have competed with and won significant MoD contracts against competition from multinational defence Prime contractors thousands of times our size. We remain, for example, immensely proud of designing building and delivering a computer based mission support and planning system called GECO that is in use by elements of the Joint Helicopter Command in the UK and to this day we are the only SME in the world to have fielded a full mission support system to support a front line military aircraft. In addition, we are also involved in providing support to Typhoon and F-35 platforms, training pilots in human performance skills, and running a cyber and intelligence area. We have won many awards including the Queens Award for Enterprise (Innovation) and being listed as one for the Sunday Times Top 100 small Companies to work for in UK for 5 successive years.
You also sit on the SME Panel for the Cabinet Office, can you tell us a bit about the panel and it’s role?
The role of the panel is to help the Govt implement its target of spending one pound in every 3 with SMEs, across all Govt Departments, by 2022. The panel consists of 22 SMEs across all sectors who provide the SME perspective direct into Govt. It meets regularly and advises on many issues, such as frameworks, payment terms, making contracts accessible to bidders, procurement regulations, social value, and many more. More information can be found here.
What do you envisage the biggest impact the work of the panel will have for Inzpire going forward?
There is no impact for Inzpire specifically, but rather there is impact for all SMES, since all panel members work on behalf of the UK SME collective. Recent successes include making more public sector contracts accessible for free via Contracts Finder, the setting up of SME champions within Govt departments and strategic suppliers, highlighting specific cases of SME-unfriendly practice, working with the Public Procurement Review Service, applying pressure to prime contractors to subcontract more work to SMEs and improving payment terms from prime contractors to SMEs.