Helping small businesses tender for contracts
A number of small businesses in Belfast are more confident in bidding for contracts now after completing a programme focused on the tendering process.
The Smarter Procurement Programme was aimed at helping small businesses and social enterprises in the city identify and take advantage of new sales opportunities in the public and private sectors. It was part funded by Belfast City Council, Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.
The programme combined a number of elements – a tender audit; tender workshops focusing on developing the knowledge to respond to upcoming opportunities; individual business mentoring and assistance to identify and schedule sales meetings with potential buyers in the public sector.
A celebration event took place in City Hall today for the 71 participants on the programme.
Among these were Samantha Livingstone from Rumour Mill PR, Kyle Gawley from Get Invited and Siobhan Lavery from iCan.
Samantha said: “Through my involvement with the Smarter Procurement Programme, I have been able to equip my team and myself with a stronger knowledge of the procurement processes in operation and to develop the skills essential for tendering for business across Ireland.
“As a result of the training and the outstanding guidance of my mentors, we have successfully tendered for business and won on several occasions.”
Kyle added: “The Smarter Procurement Programme enabled me to gain a solid understanding of the procurement process through a series of well articulated and easy-to-grasp interactive workshops.
“My mentors were true experts in the field with a very hands-on approach tailored to each of the participants’ own needs. I’d highly recommend the programme to anyone seeking to expand their business into the public sector.”
Siobhan said: “Having had limited experience of tendering for public sector business, I was delighted to be selected for the programme. The sessions were practical, easy to follow and very professionally delivered by the team. The opportunity to meet other participants made the programme very enjoyable but also allowed us to learn from each other’s experiences.
“I can say with confidence that this programme has been hugely beneficial, moved our business tender readiness up the scale and gave me sound practical and common sense advice that I will apply to future tender responses,” she added.
Councillor Deirdre Hargey, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee said: “This is a very important programme for local businesses unsure about the procurement process and needing help with tendering for business.
“It also links with our Investment Programme aimed at increasing local procurement spend and supporting growth in key sectors.
“I want to wish all the local companies and social enterprises who took part in the Smarter Procurement Programme every success with procurement opportunities in the public sector.”
For more information on the council’s support for local business, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/business or .