Why a government collaboration isn’t out of reach

The UK government has opened its doors to small businesses. Find out how stepping through could accelerate you on your road to success and why you need to take action today.

Imagine winning a customer who has big budgets, diverse requirements and has a presence in every location in the UK. Local and national government could be your dream customer.

And don’t think you’ll lose out to bigger businesses pitching against you – the government has openly said it wants to work with more small businesses across the UK. In fact, it aims to have one third of its spend on goods and services to be fulfilled by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by 2022, either directly or through the supply chain.
 

What’s in it for you?

In 2017, the combined annual turnover of SMEs was £1.9 trillion; 51% of all private sector turnover in the UK. So, it’s no wonder the government wants to focus its attention on SMEs; they’re the lifeblood of the UK economy.

Don’t forget that a collaboration is a two-way street; you have as much to gain from the government as it has to gain from you. Businesses that partnered with the government reported a surge in their profits, workforce and reputation.

It’s time you broadened your horizons by exploring possibilities of working with government.
 

What’s on offer?

To promote its desire to work with smaller businesses across the UK, the government created the GOV Open for Business campaign. It offers help and advice to SMEs hoping to win a collaboration contract. Here’s how the government is making its voice heard.
 

Selling to Government Guide

 
The Crown and Commercial Service (CCS) published a guide for potential collaborative SMEs, titled – Selling to Government. The guide explains what the campaign is all about and provides top tips on selling directly to government, finding new and current opportunities and competing to join a government framework. It also features case studies of successful SME and government partnerships like property and development consultant company – Montagu Evans.

After applying for a place on the government’s Estates Professional Services (EPS) framework, the SME experienced rapid success. They expanded their workforce by one hundred employees and increased their annual turnover by £13.5 million. Since then, they have been relabelled as a large business, proving the campaign’s ability to put a business’ growth plan into immediate action.
 

The SME Advisory Panel

 
The SME Advisory Panel is a consultative body, made up of twenty-four entrepreneurs and leading business figures. Collectively, their mission is to expand the opportunities available to SMEs by looking for new ways to:

• Put them in touch with government buyers
• Improve their supply chain and contract management
• Increase the transparency of the Contracts Finder website
• Encourage a greater use of modern collective buying methods
• Ensure that financial requirements are proportionate
 

What about technology?

Technology is a means of survival for every business and factoring it into your collaboration strategy could be the difference between winning or losing a partner.

Encouraging this way of thinking is Innovate UK, a government organisation that assesses the latest technology developments, connects innovators with the right partners and funds the strongest opportunities to drive business innovation and growth.

In the past decade, it’s committed over £1.8 million to innovation, helped 8,000 organisations with projects, added more that £16 billion to the UK economy and created nearly 70,000 jobs – of which engineering firm, Barrnon Ltd is a leading example.

With the help of an SME Innovate UK award, the business developed a ground-breaking technology to expand its expertise from fishermen’s trawling gear to nuclear waste disposal. Since then, it’s completed a suite of innovative nuclear decommissioning equipment, using emerging tech like robotics and virtual reality, and has opened up a worldwide market worth an estimated £100 million.

The government may not be at the front and centre of your collaboration strategy but, with its ability to drive business innovation, growth and success, maybe it should be.
 
Read more about benefits of business collaboration, and watch how tech start-up Headstart built their success on collaborating with big businesses.