Businesses in Cornwall can now discover how to become more competitive when tendering for work without leaving their desks – thanks to a new initiative from Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership who have become the first in the country to use webinars to support local businesses to win more contracts from public sector organisations.
The webinars are the latest in a series of measures developed by the Council as part of its Cornwall Supplier Development Programme to help small and local businesses to become more competitive in winning contracts to supply goods, works and services to the public sector.
In 2012 / 2013 public sector organisations in Cornwall spent £1.5 billion purchasing a wide range of services ranging from social care to waste management. Cornwall Council spent around £460 million of this total, with contracts varying in value from a minimum of a few thousand to many millions of pounds.
The webinar programme is the brainchild of the Council’s procurement team and the LEP who are keen to help local firms compete on an even footing and create more local jobs. A pilot Webinar was trialled at the end of January and following the success of this event, a detailed programme of topics has now been agreed.
“We know that taking time away from work to travel to a seminar or conference can be difficult for many of our small and medium sized businesses “ said Alex Folkes, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources. “Webinars will enable these people to take part via the internet without leaving their homes or their offices”.
“Businesses don’t need any specialist equipment to get involved – people can see and listen to the presenter and interact with them using a standard computer and telephone and, best of all, taking part is free of charge”.
All the webinars will be recorded so anyone who missed them will be able to access them at any time in the future. Recordings will be available from Business Pulse where businesses can also access the Cornwall Council tendering toolkit and find additional information on selling to the public sector. Business Pulse also provides a discussion forum so businesses can share their experiences and suggest how the process could be simplified.