Ministry helps small business in gov't tenders

Committee will adopt recommendations of the Government Procurement Administration.

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor will adopt recommendations put forward together with the Government Procurement Administration to ease the conditions of small- and medium-sized companies to take part in government tenders. "The recommendations are a step in the right direction, but I don't see the tachles yet," said Nir Kantor, head of the committee of small and medium-sized businesses at the Manufacturers' Association of Israel. "We hope that the next step will be to put the recommendations into an action plan." Following an array of complaints by organizations representing small and medium-sized companies claiming that the big government tenders only go to a few big firms,a committee was set up to examine the barriers faced by small- and medium-sized enterprises in the participation of government tenders. Small and medium-sized businesses in Israel are subject to credit problems, which have affected their ability to survive and realize their potential to take part in government tenders. In contrast to corporations and large businesses, which employ experts that are well acquainted with the various government and assistance systems, small business owners and entrepreneurs are compelled to cope with the lack of information and know-how, bureaucracy and lack of familiarity with the system. As such, the committee, headed by the Director of the Government Procurement Administration Avi Dor, found obstacles in three main areas: accessibility of information; tender participation conditions; and bureaucracy involved in the application of a government tender. With regard to lack of information on how to go about applying for a government tender, the committee suggested a guide to small enterprises, which would provide all the tools needed to compete in government tenders. Furthermore, the committee recommended the launch a portal containing information on all existing tenders. Dealing with the issue of barriers of participation and the question of at what price a small business would be able to participate in the tender, the committee called for more transparency and detail regarding the scope of the tender. Furthermore, the report recommended encouraging the use of subcontractors by government suppliers. "The winner of a government tender could, for example, be subjected to work with small and medium-sized subcontractors for 20 percent of the tender," Kantor said.