NSW minister for finance and services, Dominic Perrottet, has launched the state government’s Procurement Strategic Directions Statement 2014-15, at a forum for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) specialising in ICT. The forum, at the NSW Mint, was co-hosted by the Australian Computer Society (ACS). Perrottet said the updated Statement would assist SMEs to engage with government and promote innovation. “SMEs are major contributors to our economy and are one of the largest groups of employers across the country,” he said. “In NSW alone, about 1.5 million people are employed in more than 680,000 small businesses and SMEs now account for 70 per cent of government expenditure on ICT. “It’s time for government to get out of the way and remove unnecessary red tape, to allow small and medium businesses to innovate, grow and succeed.” Perrottet said the traditional view of SMEs had failed to take into account the crucial role they played in nurturing innovation. “SMEs do not consist solely of local retailers. They include software and application programmers, enterprise architects, project managers, data modellers, system and network analysts, and e-commerce platform developers," he said. “They are technical experts and ICT innovators and the competitive advantage of ICT SMEs is that they are unburdened by hierarchy or bureaucracy. They are agile and can move rapidly to meet the demands of consumers and the market.” According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, SMEs now account for more than one-third of research and development spending in high tech industries. Perrottet said the NSW Government was making it easier for SMEs to smooth the path between an innovative idea and a market-ready product or service. “We are accelerating rapidly our procurement reform program, with 45 new actions under the Procurement Board’s Statement that will make it easier for enterprises of all sizes to do business with the NSW Government,” he said. “Under the plan we will make it easier for SMEs to demonstrate potential value for money under short-term high-risk contracts worth up to $250,000. “We also require NSW Government agencies seek at least one quote from a SME on contracts worth up to $1 million to enable them to get a foot in the door.” Perrottet said the government was working hard to make sure conditions existed for SMEs to maximise the potential of their innovative ideas. For more information on NSW Government procurement, visit www.procurepoint.nsw.gov.au.