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SMEs in Public Procurement

Practices and Strategies for Shared Benefits

image of SMEs in Public Procurement

The relevance and economic implications of public procurement – which represents 12% of GDP and one-third of government expenditures in the OECD area - make it a powerful tool for improving public service delivery. At the same time, governments are increasingly using their purchasing power to pursue strategic objectives in different policy areas such as sustainability, innovation or providing support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Making it easier for SMEs to access public procurement opportunities improves the general economic environment, promotes inclusive growth and supports principles such as equal treatment, open access and effective competition. This report takes stock of the approaches adopted in 37 OECD and non-OECD countries to help SMEs perform better in public procurement markets, including removing barriers to their participation. The report also describes the main features of a public procurement system that benefits both the public sector and SMEs.

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Ensuring a public procurement environment conducive to SME participation

This chapter surveys the various means through which governments can facilitate SME participation in the procurement process. Governments’ efforts mostly focus on verifying that competition is fair and that SMEs are not unjustifiably prevented from participating. This chapter analyses the measures they have implemented in order to smooth the path to full participation in the procurement process, for SMEs as well as other competitors, and takes a close look at their advantages and potential drawbacks. These measures focus on lowering the barriers related to the size of tenders, making procurement processes less complex, and doing away with disproportionate financial and technical requirements.

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