Despite local government spend topping £227bn, the lion’s share of SMEs still avoid taking advantage of this opportunity. A lack of technical know-how, fears over red tape and feeling powerless to compete with larger organisations are the primary reasons cited according to Graham Longley, Executive Councillor and Deputy Leader of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.
At a time when Westminster is placing a strong emphasis on exporting, SMEs are now also advised to look closer to home in search of growth opportunities. A local government contract not only offers a steady revenue stream, it signals the high quality of a business, making it an invaluable new business tool.
As one of the top ten fastest growing cities in the UK, Southend-on-Sea has one of the highest number of businesses per capita and is listed as the 8th city in the UK with the highest business start-up rate,and the city claims a high net flow of 22-30 year olds from London.
Graham Longley, Executive Councillor and Deputy Leader of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council says: “We see first-hand how gaining public sector contracts can boost any business, from multi-nationals, to kitchen table start-ups. At Southend-on-Sea Borough Council we are working extremely hard to dispel some of the unhelpful procurement myths which still linger. From where we stand, local government contracts have never been easier to attain and there is a tremendous amount of support available to those who seek it, with the Business Southend Procurement Portal a prime example.”
Alan Davies at SimplyBetter.co.uk says “We’re a local firm based in Essex. In the past we’ve taken on a lot of smaller contracts which have been great for getting us known and building a loyal group of customers. Going for the opportunity at Southend Borough Council meant that we had to improve our policies and change our internal systems. The result of winning the contract has meant that we’ve practically doubled our staff numbers and significantly grown our turnover. Now that we have the Southend contract we’re looking for other opportunities to continue growing our business.”