Public Markets

How to make SMEs more accessible to public markets?

Estimated at nearly 400 billion euros, the amount of the public order is now equivalent to 20% of GDP. Difficult for micro-SMEs not to want to be. However, if the VSEs and SMEs fabric represents 35.7% of the turnover of companies, it constitutes only 25% of the total amount of public contracts (against 35% in Germany).

Public organisms, which have an interest in having the largest number of SMEs responding to their calls for tenders – the quality of service of an SME, in terms of commitment and involvement, is often judged to be larger than a large group – put in place tools to improve the access of VSEs / SMEs to their markets. However, the gap between these tools and the needs of the VSEs / SME candidates is often pointed out. In question, approaches that lack ground reality.

Which avenues should be favored for better access of SMEs to public procurement?

Encourage structured and transparent sourcing

Through calls for skills or requests for information, communication actions, participation in trade shows, business-to-business meetings … and communicate to all the candidates any information exchanged during the preparation of the procedure ( subject to confidential information).

Clarify consultation records

VSEs / SMEs need information that fully addresses the purpose of the consultation. For example, in a guarding market, the question of the resumption of site staff and the quantity to be taken over is of paramount importance. Yet this information is not always specified, and it is often up to the candidate to ask the question himself. It is therefore appropriate for the buyer to work on the readability of his files.

Develop a direct exchange between field technicians -prescriptors of these markets- and SMEs

In the context of meetings and training in the tools of a specific public market. For example, set up a security / guard meeting, which will bring together the buyers, the people in the field, and the target companies, for a clear definition of the need, understood by all.

Standardize and harmonize access to information

Via the creation of a single platform that would centralize announcements of buyers’ opinions at the national level, in the same spirit as PLACE, the state’s single paperless purchasing platform. *

Encourage business groupings

Take the case of a market above 1 million euros, where no French SME is able to respond. The trend is to favor groupings of companies to respond to markets: if one of them is weak, another will immediately take over within the group (vigilance however on risk management and need to legally fit everyone’s responsibility). In this regard, PLACE has been offering a co-contracting grant since 2015, where companies can meet in a secure online space with a view to forming a temporary group of companies (GME) to respond to government contracts. At the end of 2017, the state had more than 3,000 registered companies against 1700 at the end of 2016, proof of success!


* PLACE makes it possible to consult and respond to all government contracts, and offers several services and tools designed to support SMEs, including a practical sheet on the MPS (Simplified Public Market).

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