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By | Brid-Aine Parnell 22nd August 2013 10:37

Small biz isn't finding it any easier to bag govt IT contracts

Survey: Tiny number of firms say it's a bit better, despite Whitehall push

Smaller businesses are still finding it tough to win government IT contracts, with just six per cent of SMEs reckoning they can more easily sign on the dotted line in the last two years.

Fujitsu has said that a survey of 500 SMEs in Blighty found that half of them reckoned there had been no change in their ability to win government work, despite the big push from Whitehall to boost their involvement.

UK.gov has set a target of 25 per cent SME IT contracts with initiatives like G-cloud, the public sector shopping catalogue. But a group formed to give feedback on the government's success, or lack thereof, says just 10 per cent of G-cloud deals have gone to small businesses.

Fujitsu's chief exec reckons the way to get SMEs on the roster is if they partner up with larger IT firms, like say, ummm, Fujitsu.

"The steps the government has recently announced to ease the bidding process for smaller suppliers are incredibly positive; but Fujitsu believes that the other two barriers – the costs in bidding and the risk issue – can only be mitigated by working in collaboration with a larger partner who is better equipped to absorb them," Duncan Tait said in a canned statement.

Fujitsu's study, conducted for the firm by market research agency Opinion Leader, showed that just over half of SMEs, 58 per cent, thought that larger and smaller suppliers should work together to win contracts but 43 per cent said that it rarely happened.

The Confederation of British Industry's director-general John Cridland said that the CBI's own research showed that medium businesses along could contribute as much as £20bn to £50bn to the UK economy by 2020.

"Lest we forget, SMEs account for 99 per cent of all enterprise activity in the UK," he said in a foreword to the study.

"Getting Britain growing means giving all of the companies that fall within that small and medium-sized category the platform from which they can confidently win business from a range of customers. Working in partnership with larger firms is key to this, giving smaller companies access to a number of opportunities that may be out of their grasp when working in isolation." ®

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