Hampshire supports local SMEs
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
"Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are crucial for the continued success of Hampshire's economy and the County Council is seeking to play an important part in supporting these businesses," said Hampshire County Council's Leader and Executive Member for Policy and Resources, Councillor Ken Thornber.
The Council's proportion of spend with local businesses - 60% of total procurement expenditure - is the highest since monitoring started and the current proportion of spend with SMEs also stands at around 60%. The Council recognises that prompt and reliable payment is critically important for companies and more than 97% of 700,000 undisputed invoices that the Council processed last year were paid on time.
Councillor Ken Thornber commented:
"We cannot take Hampshire's prosperity for granted and now more than ever we need to maintain a strong, stable and sustainable economy. There are many ways in which the Council is supporting small, local businesses through these difficult economic times, such as the annual 'Meet the Buyer' event where Hampshire SMEs present their products to buyers. Last year's event clinched more than six million pounds worth of sales on the day for local companies."
Other initiatives include the 'Shop in Hampshire' website which supports independent retailers, and the business-led 'Winchester BID' programme that uses local business funding to keep the City centre "a clean, attractive, safe, vibrant and well managed place in which to shop, live, work and conduct business."
Councillor Thornber continued:
"We also host the annual Hampshire Business Conference where key speakers from private and public sector organisations explore how Hampshire's businesses can work in partnership to achieve collective growth for the county and position themselves to take advantage of current opportunities."
Hampshire County Council regularly analyses how much business is done with SMEs and local suppliers. Councillor Thornber added:
"I am delighted that our proportion of spend with them, at 60%, is consistently high. This is the result of our active approach to procurement - for instance, we procure property services according to a mixed economy strategy which actively promotes local supplier involvement. I know that trading is difficult at the moment and cash flow is absolutely critical for companies to survive and prosper, especially so for smaller businesses. That is why we pride ourselves on surety of payment and have given a commitment to small, local businesses to pay their invoices early if they ask."
Hampshire is one of the largest counties in the UK and the vast majority of it is rural. Councillor Thornber said:
"We need to make sure that the countryside's economy remains viable and sustainable, so have created projects such as the Village Community Grants scheme, running since 2008, which transforms and revitalises village shops across the county. Supporting Hampshire's local food producers is also a key factor in regenerating the rural economy and we have in place programs such as Hampshire Fare, Hampshire Food Festival and Hampshire Farmers' Markets, all of which give a boost to Hampshire's local food producers."