Procurement · 15 November 2016

New entrepreneurial panel urges government to boost spending with small business

The panel has set a target of committing a third of national budget to small businesses by 2020
The panel has set a target of committing a third of national budget to small businesses by 2020

A panel of 24 small business representatives has been appointed to advise government and support small companies when accessing public procurement opportunities.

According to an announcement from the Cabinet Office, the formation of the “SME Panel” is intended to give ambitious UK entrepreneurs a louder voice within the Crown Commercial Service – the public procurement arm of the Cabinet Office.

The panel will seek to use its expertise to act as a mediator between small firms and government, supporting the target of committing a third of the national budget to smaller companies by 2020.

Providing Business Advice with an insight into the targets of the new panel, Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones, currently acting as small business representative to the crown commercial service, stated that its aims were two-fold.

Jones said: “The purpose of the SME Panel is to feed into government on how businesses are finding procurement in the public sector, and to outwardly promote the opportunity of selling to government to small businesses across the UK.

“If we get it right, everyone benefits,” she added.

Online platforms such as GCloud have brought together contract opportunities from numerous providers to help create a manageable public procurement process for entrepreneurs.

Commenting on the government’s target to strengthen its relationship with entrepreneurs in Britain, Ben Gummer, UK paymaster general and cabinet minister, made it clear that the interests of small businesses would continue to be supported.

“Government is firmly on the side of entrepreneurs and we will do everything we can to make their lives easier.

“The business experts will play a vital role to help us increase spending with small businesses, which are the lifeblood of the UK economy,” he said in a statement.

Jones offered advice to entrepreneurs eager to access public contracts.

“The secret to success is in deciding on your strategy,” she said.

“If you want to sell directly to government or via tier one suppliers, look for the opportunities on sites such as ContractsFinder, and be tender ready – make sure you have documentation such as health and safety and equal opportunities policies in place.

“Once you’ve secured government work, shout about it!”

The full panel of small business representatives can be found in the table below.

Applicant Organisation Location
Campbell McDonald Baxendale London
Graham Lancaster TORI Global Ltd Woking
Jon Kent Zeco Energy Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Rob Driscoll Building Engineering Services Association Kent
Francis Toye Unilink Group London
Elizabeth Vega Informed Solutions Cheshire
Ian Fishwick AdEPT Telecom plc London
Jonathan Lewis The Live Group London
Mark Jankovich Delphis Eco Battersea
Stephen Massey SJM Specialist Security London
Peter Woolaghan REACT Engineering Ltd Cumbria
Farooq Mohammed Es-p London and Manchester
Tim Coleman Abacus HR Hampshire
Felix Lewis CF Architects Maidstone
Sue Waller Knowledge Powered Solutions Ltd Cheshire
Arnab Dutt Dexo Technologies Leicester
Stephanie Staubach TopMarks Claims Management Glasgow
Judith Hall SmartSourcing Staffordshire
Caroline Brown Caja Cheshire
Paul Edwards P & S Automation Essex
Mark Taylor Luca Fettes & Partner Berkshire
Stephen Kingan Nexor Ltd Nottingham
Pamela Cook Infoshare Ltd Surrey
Hugh Griffiths InZpire Ltd Lincolnshir

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.