Smarter procurement opportunities for Belfast businesses
A new round of Belfast City Council’s Smarter Procurement Programme has been launched to support businesses sell their products or services to the public sector.
It will be open to 20 small companies or social enterprises in the city and is aimed at helping them identify and take advantage of new sales opportunities within the public sector. Participants will discover how to identify procurement opportunities and develop the skills required to construct tender bids more effectively. The programme will combine a number of elements – a tender audit; workshops focusing on procurement; individual business mentoring and working with a mentor to identify and schedule sales meetings with potential buyers in the public sector. It is open to small businesses or social enterprises based in the city council area with less than 20 employees which have limited or no experience of public sector procurement.
Launching the programme, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, Chair of Belfast City Council’s Development Committee, said: “The Council is committed to supporting local business and we work with companies across a wide range of sectors to enhance their growth and competitiveness. Through the Smarter Procurement Programme, we aim to support local businesses with no experience in tendering and procurement and help them develop the skills and knowledge which will allow them to enter into this market. Targeting the public sector, in particular, can be a daunting prospect for many small businesses and social enterprises, and require tendering knowledge many are unfamiliar with.”
Barry Maddox from the RLA Group is on the current round of the popular programme. “The Smarter Procurement Programme has helped RLA refine our tendering process to ensure we’re best placed to win new business. As a full service advertising and design agency, we’re always on the lookout for potential opportunities and the programme has certainly brought our attention to a number of these,” he said. “The one-to-one mentoring sessions are a fantastic inclusion and I’m currently working with my mentor on a number of prospects.”
Pauline Cooke from Coastways Storage and Removals Ltd, a fellow participant, said; “At our company, we are always open to finding new ways to identify potential opportunities. As the public procurement market in Northern Ireland is vast, attending a programme that provides insight and support on how to further tap into this market is a must for our business. To date the workshop sessions have been very useful and informative and I am looking forward to the mentoring sessions.”
The Smarter Procurement Programme is funded by Belfast City Council, Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland. It will be delivered by Bid Management Services.
To apply for or discuss any aspect of the Smarter Procurement Programme, contact the council’s Economic Development Unit on (028) 9050 0518(028) 9050 0518 or email The closing date for applications is Friday 25 April 2014.