Firms urged to consider consortia route to tenders

Damien Craig and Liz Baker, both Central Procurement Directorate, chat to Rachel Logan and Michael Henderson, of Carrick-based Henderson Decorators, at the InterTradeIreland 'Meet the Buyer' event. Photography By Paul Moane / Aurora PA. INCT 25-705-CON
Damien Craig and Liz Baker, both Central Procurement Directorate, chat to Rachel Logan and Michael Henderson, of Carrick-based Henderson Decorators, at the InterTradeIreland 'Meet the Buyer' event. Photography By Paul Moane / Aurora PA. INCT 25-705-CON

A Carrickfergus-based firm has been learning more about tapping into the lucrative public procurement market.

Henderson Decorators was among more than 600 local SMEs which attended the InterTradeIreland ‘Meet the Buyer’ event in Belfast.

Worth £2.8bn in Northern Ireland and €8.5bn in the south of Ireland, both markets continue to offer substantial opportunities for small businesses, despite the decreases in public spending.

The event was held in partnership with the Central Procurement Directorate in Northern Ireland, The Office of Government Procurement in Ireland, Invest NI, the Strategic Investment Board and Enterprise Ireland.

With recent changes to procurement practices by governments north and south, resulting in increasingly larger contracts being issued, delegates heard how it is now more important than ever for companies to consider forming consortia to bid for tenders.

Opening the event, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Jonathan Bell said: “In Northern Ireland, the public sector will spend in the region of £2.8bn on goods and services in the current financial year. A significant proportion of those contracts will be awarded to SMEs, demonstrating a key commitment within our current Programme for Government.

“I commend InterTradeIreland and the other agencies from across Northern Ireland and the Republic that have worked together so closely to hold this event. It is vital for our economy that we have a truly joined-up approach to make tendering as accessible as possible to businesses of all sizes.”