NEW business worth more than €69m has been won by Irish SMEs participating in a state-run programme designed to improve their pitching abilities in the face of competition from big, foreign-based firms.
According to InterTradeIreland, the 900 firms from both sides of the Border who participated in the Go-2-Tender education programme gained an average of €76,000 in additional business from Irish and Northern Irish government departments and local authorities in the lucrative €20bn public procurement market.
The scheme was set up in 2007 under the Good Friday Agreement when it emerged that small and medium enterprises were being excluded from big public contracts because they weren't familiar with the tender procedures and complex EU requirements. "In many cases, they didn't know who in Government was responsible for buying what," said Margaret Hearty, director of programmes for InterTradeIreland.
"But these figures demonstrate that we have been successful in helping small firms from both sides of the Border to improve their chances, not only against companies from abroad, thus helping to prevent valuable business leaving the island, but also against big, locally based firms."
The programme has also enabled companies from the South to become familiar with tender procedures used in the North and vice versa.
The organisation has also announced that a further series of 10 Go-2-Tender workshops will take place this year with events scheduled for Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Athlone.