01 May 2008 | Jake Kanter
Small and medium sized suppliers will be able to get free access to public sector tenders valued under £100,000.
The government's supply2.gov.uk portal will be opened up to vendors today and provide free access until 31 July. The site was launched in 2006 as a scheme to help smaller firms win more public sector work by giving them access to contract notices.
The trial is part of the Treasury's Enterprise Strategy. Announced with the budget in March, it aims to boost the number of small firms competing for public procurement.
When the site was launched it was criticised by small business associations for charging firms to view potential deals (Web news, 28 April 2006).
John Wright, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said the free trial was welcome. "Opening up public sector procurement to the UK's 4.5 million small businesses can and should eradicate the false assumption that biggest is always best."
Shriti Vadera, parliamentary under-secretary of state for business and competitiveness, said in a statement: "Encouraging more small businesses to register for opportunities will mean buyers benefit from increased competition and access to a wider range of suppliers."
The government said since the site was set up more than 79,000 contracts have been posted by more than 5,000 buyers.