Small businesses will grow on back of IT procurement reforms

13 September 2017 | News

Small businesses are set to grow on the back of reforms to Government technology procurement.

Commonwealth IT contracts have been capped at a maximum value of $100 million and/or three years’ duration, to allow smaller players to bid for smaller components of larger projects.

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor joined Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security Dan Tehan at cyber security start-up Penten in Braddon, Canberra on Wednesday, to hear about the benefits for small business.

Assistant Minister Taylor said it was great news that Penten was expecting to double its revenue and workforce over the coming 12 months through initiatives including the procurement reforms.

“It is great to be here today with the Penten team to hear about the opportunities for smaller IT businesses,” Assistant Minister Taylor said.

“These are exciting changes that will actively encourage small innovators to sell us their ideas.”

With a staff of 30, Penten has produced an encrypted device the Alto Crypt Stik for communicating on secure networks.

CEO Matt Wilson said the procurement changes would allow them to more successfully compete to try and win Government business.

“Direct contracts support innovation,” Mr Wilson said.

“Our offerings can be assessed on their merits and be the basis of the contract itself, rather than being part of a broader ICT capability being offered by a large company. This is what gives the direct economic and growth opportunities for SMEs.”

Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack said the Federal Government was proud to be backing small business by providing growth and investment opportunities.

“Penten is a great example of how small business is at the forefront of innovation, taking full advantage of opportunities created by the Federal Government to deliver new services,” Minister McCormack said.

“This Government is focused on creating the right conditions for small business to flourish, which is why businesses such as Penten are creating more jobs and can now compete on a level playing field with big business for Government ICT contracts.”

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security Dan Tehan said Penten should act as an inspiration.

“While the focus of cyber security is keeping us safe, another key element of the Government’s $230 million Cyber Security Strategy is ensuring Australians are best-placed to take advantage of the world’s growing demand for better cyber security,” Mr Tehan said.

“We are doing this through investing in the next generation of cyber security entrepreneurs and encouraging and helping businesses to seize the opportunities within the cyber security industry.

“The success of local cyber security firms should be inspiring to all Australians and send a message that Australians can be world leaders in cyber security.”

The Federal Government is aiming to inject an additional $650 million annually (10 per cent of its annual IT spend) into Australian technology SMEs (businesses with less than 200 staff).

The Federal Government will also reduce the number of IT panels to make it easier for small providers to supply services to government agencies and departments.