The Guardian reports David Cameron as declaring war on “The public sector procurement managers who think that the answer to everything is a big contract with a big business and who shut out millions of Britain’s small- and medium-sized companies from a massive potential market.”
David Cameron’s speech follows on the heels of the announcement of the creation of 10 enterprise zones and he goes on to say:
“We’re throwing open the bidding process to every single business in our country – a massive boost for small businesses, because we want them to win at least a quarter of these deals.”
In practical terms one of the best ways small businesses can access these contracts is not by themselves but in collaboration with other complimentary businesses. Such collaborations are often referred to as Virtual Enterprise Networks due to their ability to provide small businesses with pay-as-you-need virtual resources. Such collaborations are described in detail in my book The Networked Enterprise.
Historically, however, these collaborative groups have found it difficult to win government contracts due to risk adverse procurement regulations and procurement managers who favour large vertically integrated suppliers.
These are the issues (liability, insurance, trading history, networked supply chains etc) which must be addressed if this initiative is to really deliver for small businesses.