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.
Congratulations to Rachel Kelsall from Green & Hulme Ltd in Fenton who is the winner of the BIC’s 2014 Annual Customer Survey Prize Draw.
Rachel is seen here on the right receiving her £25 High Street Voucher from Sandra Butterworth, Director of Innovation at the Business Innovation Centre.
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?
Preparing for a client visit for a company who was looking to expand and create new products it took me quite some time to update our current listing of funding opportunities for companies in Staffordshire.
Innovation requires patience.
We are currently awash with funding opportunities for small and large Capital Expenditure projects to Consultancy and Specialist Advice and Proof of Concept to Prototype Development. There are grants from 20% to 60% support, loan funding and equity investment finance available.
Even the banks are stepping up on their lending and it was interesting to read today that 7/10 bank loan applications are currently being approved!
The BIC itself has two funding schemes, one for capital expenditure and one to pay for specialist advice!
There are of course certain criterias you need to comply to to be eligible to apply but that is normal when we are talking about free or subsidised support.
So if you have a good project in mind, a current business plan, your accounts are in order and you are looking to grow and create new jobs then now is the time to invest!
A good place to start to see what support is available to you is the Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire Business Helpline on 0300 111 80002 or if you are in the world of innovation ring the BIC.
CLOSING DATE 3rd August 2014
Business Boost Awards is the premiere competition in Newcastle-under-Lyme, which aims to help businesses achieve their future potential and growth. Through participation, businesses are encouraged to develop entrepreneurship and strategic thinking to help drive their business forward. The unique CASH AWARDS are presented to businesses that are able to demonstrate drive and ambition based on sound business planning.