30 June 2008 | Jake Kanter
Public sector buyers in the EU should train, monitor and exchange best practice with small suppliers to help them participate in public contracts.
The Small Business Act for Europe (SBA), published by the European Commission, encourages purchasers and SMEs to communicate and build up a better understanding of each other.
The SBA includes 10 principles designed to help SMEs that should be adopted by member states. These include proposals to make it easier for them to bid for public contracts. This could involve setting up websites giving small firms better access to procurement opportunities or making subcontracting opportunities in current supplier contracts clearer.
José Manuel Barroso, president of the Commission, said the act would mean "less red tape and more red carpet for Europe's 23 million SMEs."
Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business, welcomed the announcement: "It is important that the government now takes on the mantle of supporting the UK's smallest businesses, in order to help them to grow by implementing real policies designed to address their needs."
The SBA is now awaiting approval from the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, before it can be adopted by member states.