Small is bountiful

12 July 2011
Supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is somewhat flavour of the month. In the UK alone, there has been a flurry of announcements in the past few weeks. Among them, MPs becoming ‘business buddies’ in their local constituencies; high-street banks launching a mentoring scheme and academics urging public purchasers to tailor tendering activities to consider SMEs in Ireland and Wales. And elsewhere, buyers in Africa are similarly urged to contract with smaller firms. Should purchasers pay any heed to this phenomenon? Well, yes, and here are just two reasons why: First, corporate social responsibility or ‘CSR’ as it’s known – another three-letter acronym that felt like a phase a few years ago that has since become ‘business as usual’ for many organisations. Demonstrating how your organisation has improved and not simply detracted from the environment, economy and society is becoming an annual occurrence and supporting smaller firms can fall into all three categories. The second reason is the state of the economy itself. SMEs are essential to the economic lifeblood of any nation. The European Commission says 99 per cent of all European businesses are SMEs, providing two out of three private sector jobs. As one of our bloggers said: “I want a society of many little businesses supporting themselves and their families, contributing to communities and leading fulfilling lives. And for that reason I am prepared to exert my energy to help.” * Congratulations to all the nominees who made it on to the CIPS Supply Management Awards shortlist. If you haven’t seen the list you can find it here. To book a table, call Charlotte Bogaert on 020 7324 2764 or go to www.cipssmawards.com for details.
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