Procurement of public services is a £300 billion market nationally - but many smaller businesses are missing out on securing contracts.
For many the process can be too cumbersome and complicated, so they give up before they have even started.
But help is available.
Go4Growth was set up with the aim of helping to ensure that any business can take part in procurement opportunities, regardless of size or sector.
And by ensuring that smaller businesses and organisations are given the same opportunities as their bigger rivals Go4Growth is working to have a positive economic impact on local areas.
The company was set up by Gillian Askew, Sheri-Leigh Miles and Jimmy Brannigan in 2020.
Gillian, who has been a procurement professional for 30 years, said: “One of my long-standing professionalisms has been around socio-economic procurement. How procurement can do good.”
She said nearly £300 billion a year of taxpayer’s money was spent in the public sector. She stressed the importance of making sure the money worked as hard as it could to produce positive social and environmental impacts.
She explained: “One of the themes especially in the public sector is that while our job in procurement is to inspire competition, what you generally see is the same providers winning contracts time and time and time again. And often they’re large providers.”
Gillian was invited by the Federation of Small Businesses in 2019 to set up a special interest group, which Jimmy was also part of, looking at widening participation for small businesses in the public sector.
She said: “What we found was that in the public sector procurement space there are a lot of talented procurement professionals with really big ambitions on this widening participation agenda.”
In the marketplace there were lots of really talented voluntary sector organisations and small businesses,” she said.
“But the reality is there’s a disconnect between those two communities. Procurement can’t access that talent and that talent can’t access the public sector.”
“So effectively we sit in the middle of those two communities and work to bring those two communities together.”
Go4Growth is a fully remote business, with its three directors living in York, Scarborough, and Barnsley. Gillian, who is now based in Barnsley, describes herself as a “Bradford girl born and bred”.
She said: “I lived the first 26 years of my life in a Bradford postcode, Bradford is my heritage city. And I worked in Bradford until I was 28, so it was particularly important to me to work with the City of Bradford because it’s where I grew up.”
She said Go4Growth had worked to build an evidence-based database identifying what the barriers are that businesses face when they want to work for the public sector.
Written by Annette McIntyre and reproduced with kind permission by Branford Means Business magazine. Read the full article here.
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