February 15

How To Earn Big Government Contracts As a Small Business

One of my businesses, Handlr was awarded as a supplier under G-Cloud 10 as a supplier to the British Government via the Crown Commercial Service. This means that public sector organisations can find us via the government’s Digital Marketplace and could purchase our live chat software (however we no longer supply live chat software to anyone).

Read on to find out exactly why G-Cloud 10 is so beneficial for SMEs and how you can apply to be a government supplier too!

 

What is G-Cloud?

Public sector organisations, such as local councils or even large agencies like HMRC, use the government’s Digital Marketplace to find and buy technology or services for digital projects. This includes cloud-based services, namely cloud-based hosting, software, and support platforms.

G-Cloud is a commercial agreement between the government and suppliers who provide these cloud-based services. Suppliers awarded to G-Cloud can be found on the Digital Marketplace, where government organisations can purchase from them.

 

Who is G-Cloud for?

Obviously, the business has to offer cloud-based services, but G-Cloud is open to businesses of all sizes. However, it’s particularly great for SMEs because there were only 3,500 businesses awarded to G-Cloud 10 in 2018 out of over 6 million businesses in the UK.

This means that competition is pretty low and these smaller businesses are able to get a share in the billions of pounds spent on businesses by the government. To date, nearly 90% of contractors are SMEs in G-Cloud. Over £3.4bn has been spent, of which 45% of this has gone to SMEs!

 

 

How to apply to G-Cloud

The application process to be listed on G-Cloud so you can sell your services to government is fairly straightforward, but it’s important to get it right! If you don’t your application may be rejected and you’ll have to wait a whole year to reapply!

Here’s what you need to do to…

Applications are open once a year. You can register your interest by signing up to email alerts, which will communicate information about the next application cycle and alert you when they’re open. Once applications are open, you’ll generally have 4 to 6 weeks to complete your application.

1. Create a supplier account

First, you’ll have to create a supplier account.

Be aware that you’ll need a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) to apply, which identifies business entities on a location basis.

2. Make the supplier declaration

You’ll have to make a declaration to the Digital Marketplace – your application won’t be submitted if you don’t. This involves agreeing to framework terms and conditions, underlining how you’ll work with the government etc.

3. Provide your service details

You’ll then have to complete a profile for each service you’re submitting. The profile takes a while to complete as there are over 70 questions to answer. However, you can save your progress and come back to it over a period of time to get it right. You’ll be asked to provide information such as an introduction to your service, a description of your business and the features and benefits of your service.

You’ll have to provide a pricing document at this point. You need to have your prices for your services perfected as your prices cannot be increased once they’re on the G-Cloud 10 platform. You are able to decrease the price or offer time-limited discounts, but these have to be for everyone and not just for certain customers. I recommend you compare your prices by searching for competitors already on the Digital Marketplace.

You will also have to submit your terms and conditions – be aware that terms and conditions cannot be changed once they’re in place.

It’s also important to note that you can’t add other non-cloud based services to your profile. You can, however, add things like setup fees for your cloud-based service.

4. The Crown Commercial Service will evaluate your application

After completing your application, The Crown Commercial Service will evaluate your application and alert you as to whether your application has been successful or not. If successful, you’ll need to sign a framework agreement and return it within 10 working days.

Once you’ve signed the framework agreement and the framework goes live, your service will be available on the Digital Marketplace! You’ll then be set up to potentially earn millions through government organisations!

Aaron Henriques was invited to 10 Downing Street to talk small business
Founder of Handlr, Aaron Henriques, at 10 Downing Street

After being awarded to G-Cloud

The Crown Commercial Service offers great support to successful applicants through webinar guidance and training. After a business has been awarded to G-Cloud, they’ll have to give a monthly feedback report on the sales they’ve made, so that the Crown Commercial Service is aware of what organisations have purchased through them.

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