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Wendy Gibbs 

Improving SME participation in defence contracts


Improving access to defence and security contractsAn ad-hoc European Commission “Advisory expert group on cross-border access for SMEs to defence and security contracts” have published a set of recommendations to improve access for SMEs to cross-border defence contracts.
SMEs can find that it’s a challenge to access cross-border defence contracts for a number of reasons from lack of information, administration, culture and language barriers to having to deal with classified information, security of supply requirements and national export control regulations.
The recommendations in the report have been developed so that prime contractors should always be able to work with the most competitive sub-suppliers and SMEs irrespective of their location while avoiding any negative impact on prime contractors’ competitiveness. 
Some of the recommendations include: 
Government procurement procedures in EU countries should look to: 

Improve the quality of information in tender notices and advertise procurement opportunities as widely as possible. 

Where possible facilitate cross-border and SME participation. 
Prime contractors are asked to maintain an open, fair and impartial approach to provide opportunities to sub-suppliers and SMEs from all EU countries by:   
Using strategic long-term plans to inform interested suppliers of future requirements and promote unsolicited proposals. 
Using pre-procurement and subcontracting advertising: by providing advance information of contract opportunities to the National Defence Industry Associations and by advertising-contracting opportunities on the prime contractors’ websites.  
SMEs and sub-suppliers can build capacity by:
Working together to increase their market power. 
Making the most of support for SMEs: for instance by participating in international B2B meetings and events. 
For the full report please click here.
Enterprise Europe Network offers a free tenders alerting service to keep you informed of contract opportunities. To discuss how we can help you please contact us on 0845 6419955 or email
Or why not join us at our find, bid and win public sector contracts workshop on Tuesday 7th March 2017, for details please click here


[Exemplas Holdings Ltd]