Digital platform targets procurement spend gap

Specialist bid advisory firm, BIDCOMSERVICES, has launched a digital platform to help boost SMEs’ chances of winning public procurement contracts.

BIDWINYORKSHIRE connects Yorkshire-based public and private sector buyers and suppliers, with the aim of increasing the amount of procurement spend in Yorkshire going to companies based in the region.

Jon Kershaw, who has more than 20 years’ experience in bid and proposal management in the energy sector, FM, construction and defence, launched BIDCOMSERVICES in May 2016.

“We talked to local businesses about public procurement, and many of them had no idea where to start or said that when they tried they were for various reasons unsuccessful,” said Kershaw.

“We want to increase the amount of public procurement spend staying with Yorkshire firms.

“There are plenty of direct opportunities for smaller companies to go out and win, and there is actually nothing stopping them getting a piece of the action on larger contracts, it’s just about knowing the process and how to go about it and that’s where we come in.”

The platform offers a live list of tenders in Yorkshire postcodes and businesses can sign up for free to BIDALERT which will notify them of potential projects.

BIDCOMSERVICE’S experienced team can then offer their services to help SMEs succeed with their tenders, as well as a consultancy service aimed at improving a company’s bid and commercial capability.

“We can offer a one-off service to help on the first steps to tender, or provide ongoing support throughout the entire process,” said Kershaw.

Kershaw, who has recently helped Breathe Energy secure major Government and NHS energy reduction projects, says the value of using local businesses in the supply chain is increasingly being seen.

He said: “In the public sector there is a significant amount of spend, in the billions, and continues to be so.

“People can often see it as bureaucratic and admin heavy but the Government has had a drive to help make it easier for companies to tender by aiming for 25% of its spend to go on SMEs.

“We have spoken to councils, who all say they want more of their spend going to local companies. For example, a procurement team at a South Yorkshire council has done some really good work, now 80% of their spend goes to local firms.

“BIDWINYORKSHIRE’S goal is to demystify the process of public sector procurement.”

BIDWINYORKSHIRE’s launch was backed by Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s digital funding scheme and now has offices in Harrogate and London.

Alistair Forbes, SME growth manager at Harrogate Borough Council said: “The Leeds City Region’s Digital Enterprise Programme provides a real incentive for businesses who are looking to invest in their digital technology and skills, as this can have a positive impact on profitability, efficiency and growth.

“Harrogate Borough Council is keen for as many local businesses as possible to take advantage of this funding and we are delighted to support BIDCOMSERVICES’ application.

“We are committed to encouraging business growth in the region and hope that BIDWINYORKSHIRE can inspire more local businesses to seek development opportunities through selling to the public sector.”