Let small firms compete and they’ll flourish

Picture: TSPL
Picture: TSPL
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A former adviser to No 10, Rohan Silva, has called for union representation to be spread to entrepreneurs to help them get more recognition within government.

Whilst politicians recognise that the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector is the lifeblood of the economy, winning government contracts is still extremely difficult.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are not necessarily inextricably linked, which is often a misconception. The reality is that government needs to untangle a lot of the obstructive governance covering, amongst other things, who can bid for contracts. This could be more easily achieved in other ways rather than setting up yet another governed body such as a union.

Public sector contracts need to embrace a competitive market. There are firms out there purely driven to navigate through the mire of procurement bodies and frameworks that control these contracts and there is still too much weighting placed on experience rather than quality.

This means there is little competition and, as a result, public sector companies may well be missing out on better, more innovative and more cost-effective solutions from smaller, more agile companies.

Making bidding for government contracts easier and allowing well-run small businesses to vie for the opportunity just as they would in any open commercial market is the only real solution. If the tender process was opened up and based on strict criteria for quality and getting the right solution for the job then we would see more SMEs flourish.

Small businesses rise and fall on the quality of their product, service or solution. The simple truth is the law of the jungle applies: if you aren’t good enough then you won’t win contracts. The government needs to let the SME lions out of their cage.

Small businesses should be able to succeed through their agility, tenacity, flexibility, value offering and ultimately, for the really good ones, through their ability to develop their business effectively because they genuinely have a brilliant product or solution.

It should never be because they lobby government better than the competition.

• Jason Yeomans is founder and CEO of PMGC Technology

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