It has been a 30 year journey raising money and creating market opportunities for not for profits and social enterprises across the UK and Africa/South America. Yet I am still amazed by the cynical approach to public sector procurement.
One sector that should own the heart of this market place choses to take an ostrich approach to business development.
Year on year the private sector and charities squeeze social enterprises to the margins by securing commissioned contracts for services, colleges do the same where employability or capacity building in communities takes place. So many great projects live off the scraps.
2012 offers more scope for social enterprise to compete effectively on the larger stages, buyers look for the openness and transparency of the social enterprise, the commitment to sustainability, local reinvestment and accountability, plus the fact that more of the funding is spent on the service or product.
Yet time after time, meeting after meeting I still hear SE's complain that procurement doesn't work for them.
Well the challenge this year is grow your market by one contract through open and competitive tendering - go out there and have a go at something you should be doing, if you need help to prepare use events like London Connect or York Connect to meet buyers hear from them why they want to work with SE's, the small investment can create a massive sustainable return.
A contract for an SE in the southwest formerly run by a large charity has been secured, it is what they have been doing as a subcontractor for the last 4 years but now rather than living on a percentage they have all the income for the next 4 years. It works so have a go.
Please keep us up to date with developments Mark, keen to disseminate good info on this