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UK Government Tech Procurers Turn To SMBs

Nearly half of the U.K. government’s procurement spend on digital products and services is going to small suppliers, according to the latest data from the Minister for Implementation.

Minister Oliver Dowden announced Friday (Aug. 24) that the government’s adoption of its digital eProcurement portal Digital Marketplace has gained significant traction among small government contractors. The platform enables suppliers of digital solutions like data management and technology to reach government buyers. More than $2.44 billion has been spent on small suppliers via Digital Marketplace since its launch in 2012, Dowden said, meaning roughly $1.73 of every $3.85 spent on the Marketplace went to a small business (SMB).

“This is excellent news,” Dowden said in his announcement. “It’s great to see small business taking full advantage of the Digital Marketplace to help drive innovation in the public sector. The Digital Marketplace is enabling small businesses to work in partnership with the public sector to drive the U.K.’s digital transformation.”

According to the announcement, “thousands” of small firms have been onboarded to provide technology and other digital services to the government, which reportedly spent $1.67 billion via the Digital Marketplace last year alone. An estimated $773 million of that went to small suppliers, reports said.

A survey published last year by business-to-government (B2G) technology company Onivia suggested that government procurement in the U.S. is in need of a digitization boost. Nearly 40 percent of public sector buyers said they feel overworked, and struggle with finding enough time to research suppliers and manage requests for proposals and bids. Onivia found a 4 percent year-over-year increase in the number of government procurement officials who said they felt overworked, and also reported feeling pressure to “do more with less.”

In a statement at the time, B2G Market Analyst Paul Irby said, “This year’s results show a clear decline in the procurement performance among agencies, a result that is driven by resourcing challenges and time constraints among buyers.”


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