Deputy Denis Naughten, who hosted a free seminar in the Athlone Springs on Tuesday, July 1, outlined how only 1 per cent of SMEs in the Midlands win public sector contracts, according to research from TenderScout.
This seminar entitled Midlands SMEs Can! attracted small and medium sized business owners from the midlands.
The purpose of the event was to help local SMEs win a greater slice of the procurement pie by helping them understand how the system works and how to best compete. Other attendees included Fidelma Healy-Eames.
Deputy Naughten explained, “Local small businesses are the life blood of Ireland’s economy and here in the heart of Ireland are missing out on lucrative public sector contracts. I know that businesses in the Midlands can achieve more in this area and this event aims to help them be more successful in public procurement. There is €9billion available in public sector contracts and Midlands SMEs can win a greater share.”
Tony Corrigan, CEO, TenderScout, an online platform, which can increase the chances of SMEs winning tenders, said, “The system is what the system is and SMEs need to learn to operate within it more effectively. Understanding how the system works can make all the difference. Clearly, SMEs in the Midlands are losing out on millions of euros with the worst procurement performance in the country.”
He added, “Equally important is understanding when to compete and when not to as tendering can be an expensive exercise for SMEs both in terms of actual cost and time. Therefore, knowing when you have a realistic chance of winning and when you don’t ensures SMEs have a more focused approach to tendering and greatly enhance changes of success.”
He revealed that some of the most common mistakes SMEs make are failing to qualify the opportunity, failing to understand the buyer’s need, poorly structured proposals. badly written proposals, failure to edit or use spellcheck and using jargon and assuming knowledge.
Mullingar-based Enda O’Reilly, Director B2B who led a consortium of 15 SMEs to a place on a €32 million framework spoke of the challenges involved with tendering and partnering with other companies but stressed that working with others can help win tenders.