The NSW Government has proposed new spending targets that will see a greater share of its ICT spend directed to small and medium businesses (SMEs) following recommendations from the ICT and Digital Sovereign Procurement Taskforce.
The Taskforce was established last year in an effort to diversify the Government’s ICT/digital partnership spend, giving SMEs a greater chance to “compete on an equal footing” with big business, it said.
The targets will see 30 per cent of the Government’s ICT procurement funds spent directly with SMEs, as well as an additional 25 per cent of indirect ICT procurement, valued at more than $3 million, directed to SMEs from April 1 this year.
The Government said it is also keen to also diversify its ICT and digital contractors, seeking out more Indigenous suppliers, start-ups, and disability suppliers.
At present, the NSW Government spends on average around $2.5 billion each year on tech products and services.
Minister for Customer Service, Victor Dominello, said SMEs are playing a “pivotal” role in NSW’s post-bushfire and Covid recoveries. He noted that demand for technology solutions will only increase.
“The tech workforce is only going to get bigger, and we want SMEs to remain at the forefront,” he said.
The Taskforce will also continue to focus on any barriers faced by SMEs in landing government contracts, such as a lack of preparedness when navigating procurement processes as well as the cost of running certain procurement procedures.
It will initially assess current ICT and digital procurement initiatives and technology sector growth initiatives and then develop strategies and policies to ensure any set targets are achievable.
The NSW Government recently released its updated buy.nsw Supplier hub – a digital tender hub enabling public sector buyers and private sector suppliers of products and services to connect.
The hub also provides Government agencies with a comprehensive list of suppliers.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government’s own Digital Marketplace, a digital and technology-specific procurement hub, has awarded 69 per cent of work to SMEs since 2016.
The Digital Marketplace serves to break down barriers of entry for SMEs, the Government said, making it easier for smaller businesses to compete for the government’s ICT spend.