The advisory panel, made up of 24 entrepreneurs and business figures boasting a wide range of experience, will work with the Government to ensure that by 2020 £1 of every £3 invested by Whitehall in goods and services goes to SMEs.
If met, the target would mean almost £3 billion of new business up for grabs each year, either directly or through the supply chain.
The Cabinet Office has estimated that 27% of government’s procurement spending or £12.1 billion reached small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2014-15, surpassing its target of 25%. An advisory panel supported this work and a number of its members are continuing to work government towards its aim to increase its spending with SMEs to 33% by 2020.
Ben Gummer, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, said:
“The business experts will play a vital role to help us increase spending with SMEs, which are the lifeblood of the UK economy. Government is firmly on the side of entrepreneurs and we will do everything we can to make their lives easier. That’s why we have asked business experts to work with us towards our aim that £1 in every £3 of government procurement spending should go to SMEs by 2020.”
John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office, said:
"Government is open for business and wants to work with more smaller businesses across the UK. These 24 business experts from across the UK will help government improve the procurement process so it is simpler, clearer and faster for SMEs."
Leading entrepreneur Emma Jones MBE, the Crown Representative for SMEs, will work closely with the 24 experts to help more small businesses in the UK bid for and win government contracts.
Emma said: “Becoming a government supplier is a great way to make a difference to your business. Companies report an increase in their turnover, higher profits and an expansion of their workforce. In return, small and medium-sized enterprises offer innovation and value for money to government customers.”
Panel member Ian Fishwick is Chief Executive at AdEPT Telecom and Commercial Director at trade association Innopsis. Ian said, "I want to use my experience working with small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and public sector buyers to increase the number of SMEs bidding for government contracts."
"Key to this work is expanding the government supplier marketplace so that it is vibrant, diverse and includes SMEs.'
"I am looking forward to working with government to share best practice, find out what is happening in other sectors and make this target a reality."