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Giving ICT SMEs a helping hand for selling to government.



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Giving ICT SMEs a helping hand for selling to Government

Australia's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were today given a helping hand to secure a slice of the Australian Government's multi-billion-dollar information and communications technology budget with the launch of a new guide by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston.

Selling ICT to Government - A Guide for SMEs is another outcome from the Government's ICT SME Facilitation Package announced last year to help SMEs access a greater share of the Government ICT market.

The Guide will help SMEs identify potential opportunities and offers tips on how to respond to government Requests For Tender, how to put together a professional bid, how to negotiate, and how to successfully deliver goods and services. It also provides useful information on establishing partnerships - particularly with multinational corporations - with the aim of tendering for government business.

The Guide has been pitched at SMEs with little or no experience in the Australian Government market, but it is also relevant to companies that are already selling successfully to the Government.

Australia's ICT SMEs have already scored major goals in working with Government as a result of the Commonwealth IT Outsourcing Initiative, with one of the five major contractors - IPEX - an Australian SME and a further commitment by the five contractors to provide $330 million worth of business to SMEs over the life of the initiative.

At the Initiative's halfway point in June 2002, SMEs had secured $317 million of business - more than 90 per cent of the total target, with more to come. In addition, there has been $202 million of exports against a commitment of $277 million, and the new investment target has already been exceeded, with a figure of $133 million against a commitment of $92 million.

For example, EDS's "Global Partner" program which pre-qualifies Australian SMEs to co-bid with EDS for international contracts, helped Canberra firm Tower Software to win a $30 million contract with the US Navy and Marine Corporation.

With responsibility for purchasing ICT now devolved to agencies, minimum levels of SME participation for contracts over $20 million have been established. In addition, SMEs should be well-placed to compete for smaller contracts under $20 million in

the new "selective sourcing" environment.

Recent announcements such as Volante ($9.4 million Department of Finance and Administration contract) and Matrium Technologies ($20 million Centrelink contract) are examples of these opportunities being realised by Australian SMEs.

ICT SMEs are also benefiting from the Government's broader innovation initiatives. In 2001-02, ICT SMEs represented 28% of participants in the R&D Tax Concession scheme; 30% of projects under the R&D Start Program; 42% of projects under the Innovation Investment Fund, and 51% of projects under the COMET program.

In addition, since 1996 the Export Market Development Grants program has provided $116.5 million assisting 2027 ICT SMEs into export markets - and the $78 million BITS incubator has seen over 200 ICT SMEs receive incubation while attracting $38 million in private funds.

The Guide is available online by visiting the ICT page at www.dcita.gov.au.

Media contact: Simon Troeth 02 6277 7480 or 0439 425 373 Website: www.richardalston.dcita.gov.au

123/03 23 July 2003