Startups 100 – 2015 Awards Now Open for Entry

If you have an exciting innovative start-up business you may wish to enter the 2015 Startups 100 Award this year.

You need to have launched your business after 1 January 2012, be UK based and privately owned and be innovative, exciting or able to demonstrate considerable success or potential for fast growth!

It’s always good to enter competitions as it gives invaluable press coverage and will give your staff a morale boost!

Good luck!

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Staffordshire BIC Keeps Up Its Quality Standards

As the BIC approaches its 20th Anniversary on 5 June 2015 it also marks the 20th Anniversary of its membership of the European Business Network which sets the quality standards for registered Business Innovation Centres throughout Europe.

Qualification is an annual inspection and the BIC is pleased to confirm that it has once again not only met but surpassed the required standards of offering business advice in the field of Innovation.

EBN | Innovation Network

The BIC’s Chief Executive Geoff Riley is also a member of the Quality Standard Inspection Team ensuring that all other BICs achieve the required standards – “The BIC here in Staffordshire is an exemplar of a business support organisation encouraging and promoting Innovation and Incubation and has always kept up its quality standards. This is reflected in the fact that this year we are celebrating our 20th Anniversary!”

Take Advantage of £230bn

I read a very interesting article by Emma Jones from Enterprise Nation recently where she was encouraging small businesses to get ready to apply for government contracts in 2015. Forward planning is always something that we at the BIC encourage and so her message certainly rings home.

Here is an excerpt from her article:

The government spends £230bn every year on products and services including central government, local government, the police, NHS, emergency services etc

If you thought that spend only goes on big ticket items like roads and rail, think again. Across the annual spend of £230bn, the government buys:

IT services; Facilities management like plumbing, cleaning, landscape gardening; Catering; Uniforms; Pens and stationery; Taxi services etc etc

Maybe you also thought the process of selling to government would be beyond your time and financial budget; it will take too long and costs too much to go through the process and form-filling. Think again!

There is a government target to ensure 25% of all spend is spent on small business by May 2015. That’s not long to go and the government has a way to go to reach this target.

To smooth the process, a new version of Contractsfinder will go live in January 2015 with over £190 million in live projects for you to review. There will be links to LinkedIn so you can form groups to bid and you will also be able to see how previous contracts were awarded, and at what price. You can search by postcode to view opportunities in your area and, on securing a contract, government commits to paying within 30 days – and will do its best to ensure large suppliers do too if that’s the way you’ve chosen to secure a contract.

Think of it like this: the government is now firmly motivated to give as much business as possible to small business – and they’re making it a lot easier for you to play your part.

The best approach is to first of all determine your strategy ie do you want to sell to central or local government and do you want to sell direct or via a large supplier? Based on this, decide on the top 6 relationships you need to cultivate ie with large suppliers or direct with the buyers listed on Contractsfinder and then, talk to the buyers! They want to talk to you to explain what they’re after with the contract to ensure everyone gets the best result.

On 8 December Enterprise Nation will be hosting The Government Exchange in London. Perhaps you could attend to meet the buyers and see the version of ContractsFinder before it goes live in January?