attracts SMEs with free search

News attracts SMEs with free search

Ian Grant

The government has dropped the fee for searching its database of contracts worth up to £100,000, making it easier for small and medium businesses to pitch for the work.

Business minister Shriti Vadera said the move was a step towards the introduction of a single website for all public sector contracts next year.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) trade and industry committee member Debasish Sen welcomed the move. He said the FSB had worked with government to create a free, national, on-line portal that small firms could use to apply for public sector contracts from next year.

FSB research showed that half of SMEs do not tender for public contracts because the process is too complicated and the contracts too difficult to find, he said.

"Making free to access is a first step in the right direction, and something the FSB has been pushing for for a long time," he added.

Since it launched in June 2006, the contract website has published more than 132,000 contract notices, many worth under £100,000. More than 6,800 public sector buyers are registered. They include local government, health, education and housing authorities, emergency services and the Olympic Delivery Authority.

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