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August 2011 | Adam Leach
procurement programme to help small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) identify
and seize bidding opportunities in both the public and private sectors has been
launched by Belfast City Council.
council’s ‘smarter procurement programme’ aims to develop small business’
ability to construct bids in order to tender for contracts more effectively.
in September, the programme will guide small businesses and social enterprises
through a five-stage process. First, businesses will complete a self-assessment
form to give the council a clear idea of their current ability to compete.
Those selected will then attend five half-day workshops, provided by
designed to develop the necessary skills, which will then be followed up with
more targeted workshops focusing on their pitching ability.
penultimate stage will pair each business up with an expert mentor, who will
provide them with support and expertise. And the process will culminate with
the SME pitching to a minimum of three, separate buying teams.
application process is open to small businesses and social enterprises within
the Belfast City Council borders that have limited or no experience of public
sector procurement. The closing date for submissions is 26 August.
scheme is part of the authority’s attempt to widen access to public sector
contracts to SMEs.
month, a similar programme run by the Cabinet Office concluded with a BBC Dragons’ Den-style
where 12 SMEs were given the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges and an
audience of public sector buyers.