20 May 2008 | Jake Kanter
Small suppliers in Ireland and have been urged to sign up to a public procurement programme to secure more government contracts.
Business development body InterTradeIreland has launched the Go-2-Tender scheme to help vendors win public sector work. The two-year initiative has already helped nearly 130 firms across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland secure contracts worth £17 million.
As part of the scheme, small businesses will be encouraged to attend 12 workshops across the country. These will offer advice from Northern Ireland's Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) - a government body that aids public purchasing - and the Department of Finance in Ireland. Support will also come from Enterprise Ireland, another government business development body. Both governments have agreed to co-operate on issues such as enterprise development with the help of InterTradeIreland.
Des Armstrong, acting director of the CPD, believes small suppliers can be beneficial for the public sector. He said: "More SMEs entering the procurement marketplace means more competition and a more innovative response to business needs."
Eamonn Kearns, director of the sectoral policy division at the Republic's Department of Finance, said if vendors learn how to win public contracts in Ireland, it can help them secure other deals offshore.