New supports for SMEs to access public spending worth €12 billion Breakfast briefings and videos to explain public procurement process.

31 January, 2018


Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Mr Pat Breen, T.D., welcomed the launch this morning by Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., of a new range of materials from the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) aiming to promote SME participation in the public procurement process.  The initiative, developed in response to industry feedback, includes a series of introductory breakfast briefings, organised by InterTradeIreland, and a range of videos explaining the procurement process.


The innovation in providing additional encouragement to Irish businesses comes at the suggestion of an SME Advisory Group chaired by Minister of State O’Donovan.  The group, containing representatives from the public sector and business representative bodies, has been working to further promote SME participation in the public procurement process. Officials from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and its Agencies, Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) sit on the SME Advisory Group.


Welcoming the initiative today, Minister of State Breen said: “SMEs represent 99% of our enterprise base. Supporting growth and jobs in this sector is a key priority for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. I am delighted that the Office for Government Procurement, with the support of this Department and its Agencies and key business representative bodies has developed a suite of materials to make the public procurement process for SMEs clearer.


“It is vital that our SMEs understand the extent of the opportunities that are open to them for bidding for public procurement contracts. Public procurement represents an important market for Irish businesses.  Public bodies in Ireland spend €12 billion on goods, services, and works and the wider European market is worth €2 trillion.”


Breakfast briefings will be available to businesses across Ireland at a range of different levels over the course of the coming year.  Grant Gilmore, Public Tendering Operations Manager for InterTradeIreland, who are organising the events, said:


“InterTradeIreland provides a range of development supports to businesses across the whole island of Ireland.  Our two-day Go2Tender training has already proved highly popular for businesses looking to sell to the public sector.  These breakfast briefings are an important addition to our training supports for smaller businesses or those who are just starting to consider the opportunities represented by public procurement.”


The events are endorsed by a range of business representative organisations including the Small Firms Association (SFA).  Linda Barry, Assistant Director of the SFA said:


“Public contracts represent an important source of business for many of our members. The SFA is working with government not only to make public procurement more accessible to small firms, but also to provide them with the knowledge and skills to successfully bid for public contracts. This initiative from the OGP is a positive contribution in this regard.”





About the SME Advisory Group


The SME Advisory Group provides Irish small and medium enterprises with direct access to Government, providing ongoing assistance and advice to the Minister on SMEs and issues affecting them. The group prioritises issues adversely affecting SMEs and communicates these and possible solutions to the relevant Agency, Department or to Government.

The members of the SME Advisory group are: the OGP, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, InterTradeIreland, Enterprise Ireland, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Ibec, ISME, SFA, Chambers Ireland, and the Construction Industry Federation.

Information on the breakfast briefings is available from the InterTradeIreland website.


Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation supporting Public Procurement:


DBEI and the OGP share the same goal of supporting SME access to the public procurement market.  Both recognising that the SME sector is a key driver for the economy, representing approximately 98% of the enterprise base in Ireland.


DBEI and the OGP work together, to ensure that the challenges faced by SMEs in accessing public procurement are acknowledged and addressed.  In 2013, they set up a High Level Group (HLG) on SME Access to Public Procurement and an SME Advisory Group (as above).  The HLG consists of representatives from OGP, DBEI, Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland.


The Department and its agencies will continue to work with the Office of Government Procurement and with industry to ensure that winning government business is done in a fair, transparent and accessible way and to ensure that government procurement policies are business friendly.


About the Office of Government Procurement


The OGP commenced operations in 2014 and, together with four key sectors (Health, Defence, Education and Local Government), has responsibility for sourcing all goods and services on behalf of the Public Service. In addition, the OGP also has responsibility for procurement policy and procedures.


Through the OGP and the sector-retained procurement functions, the Public Service speaks with “one voice” to the market for each category of expenditure, eliminating duplication and taking advantage of the scale of public procurement to best effect. This move is in line with best practice in the public and private sector and is part of the continuing reform programme being driven by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.


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OGP videos are available at: