If you’re an SME trying to get a foothold on doing business with the government, help is at hand. The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) in Public Services and Procurement Canada works with SMEs to help you understand how the government buys goods and services, to provide information about what contracts are available, and to provide guidance on the bidding process.
Competition for government contracts can be fierce, particularly in the technology sector, and the various rules and regulations can be tricky to understand. The OSME listens to SME’s concerns about the procurement process and feeds these back to government buyers and policy makers, along with recommendations as to how procedures and tools can be improved to encourage wider participation.
The OSME’s information services include the website Buyandsell.gc.com that gives you free access to current and past government tenders and guidelines on how to use their search tools. You can also sign up to receive relevant e-mail notifications and updates. OSME also offers free seminars, webinars, and one-to-one sessions to help increase SME’s’ understanding of procurement procedures and provides a 1-800-InfoLine to answer queries and provide further support.
Seminar topics include such vital information as how to register on supplier databases, how to find and bid for key purchasing contacts, and how to obtain essential security clearances. Another useful seminar topic is how to use information from previously awarded contracts as market research to inform your own applications. If the current schedule doesn’t suit, you can even request that the OSME runs a seminar in your area or organization.