SMEs and regional businesses

If you are an SME or regional business, you’ll find it’s easier than ever to sell to government.
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What you need to know
  1. It’s now easier than ever to supply to government as an small or medium enterprise (SME) or regional business.
  2. We can often buy directly from you, especially if the contract is under $10,000, or $50,000 if you’re a small business (fewer than 20 employees).
  3. For contracts under $250,000, government agencies must first consider an SME or regional business if they have authority to buy directly.
  4. If you have an innovative solution you may be able to negotiate a trial of up to $1 million.
  5. Tenderers for contracts over $3 million have to tell us how they’ll work with SMEs.
  6. We’re also making it easier to do business with us by simplifying other processes.

Supporting SMEs and regional businesses is a government priority

We’ve made it one of our priorities to support SMEs and regional businesses by buying from them whenever we can.

This means if you are an SME or regional business, it’s now easier to find out about government opportunities, easier to apply to become a government supplier and easier to do business with us once we award a contract.

Find out about government opportunities for SMEs and regional businesses

We advertise most opportunities on eTendering. Once you register on eTendering, you can be notified of current and proposed tender opportunities and add them to your watch list. You can use this site to apply for relevant prequalification schemes and respond to tenders.

When you’re accepted on a prequalification scheme, you may be invited to quote for specific opportunities that fit your company’s profile. You’ll also often be able to apply for other opportunities more efficiently, using the information you’ve already uploaded.

Register on eTendering now.

Contracts up to $10,000

Government agencies can buy up to $10,000 of goods and services, including construction services, from any supplier. This applies even if there’s a whole-of-government arrangement in place, so long as we’re getting value for money.

If you supply under this policy, you still have to be able to meet our safety and other standards.

Contracts up to $50,000

For any goods and services or construction contracts up to $50,000, government agencies can buy directly from a small business even when what they’re buying is covered by a whole-of-government arrangement.

We also encourage government agencies to buy from their local small businesses. That includes buying fresh produce from local farmers.

Under this policy you are a small business if you have less than 20 full-time staff (or equivalent).

SME and regional procurement policy

We’ve developed special rules on how we engage SMEs and regional businesses for goods and services contracts, so that more government work comes your way.

Goods and services contracts under $250,000

Under our ‘SME or regional first’ initiative, government agencies must first consider buying from an SME or regional business – so long as we’re permitted to buy directly.

Under this policy you are an SME if you employ up to 200 people.

A regional supplier is a business of any size with a registered business address in Regional NSW, which is any part of NSW outside of Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong.

Goods and services contracts over $3 million

For contracts over $3 million, government agencies must apply at least 15% of the non-price evaluation criteria to consider how the supplier will support the government’s economic, ethical, environmental and/or social priorities. Two-thirds – or 10% of the non-price evaluation criteria – must be about encouraging SME participation to deliver the contract.

We also encourage agencies to include the same criteria in contracts under $3 million.

View the SME and Regional Procurement Policy.

Construction contracts

For contracts up to $1 million (excluding GST) we have to make reasonable efforts to get a quote from an SME when we’re buying from the:

We also ask agencies to include SMEs whenever they ask two or more suppliers to quote for any other construction work valued up to $1 million.

For major construction activities, we ask the principal contractor to include SMEs in subcontracting opportunities as well.

Innovation stream

We know SMEs are often the source of our most innovative solutions and ideas. For that reason, accredited agencies can engage SMEs directly on short-term contracts valued up to $1 million to do proof-of-concept testing or outcomes-based trials.

If this testing phase is successful, they can use the most suitable procurement method, including direct negotiation, to roll out the product or service.

Making it easier to work with us

We’re also working on other ways to make it easier for you to do business with us. This includes:

  • simplifying contracts and using plain English
  • using standard contracts wherever possible
  • reducing insurance and other requirements where we can
  • giving as much advance notice of new procurements as possible so you have time to respond properly
  • limiting the length and complexity of tender responses
  • making sure small business gets paid quickly – often within 5 days.

Find out more about how to become a government supplier.

Related content

  • How to supply to government: Read an overview of supplying to government based on your business type and the buying methods we use.
  • Aboriginal businesses: Find out about how you can supply to government if you own an Aboriginal business.
  • Contracts and schemes: Discover how our procurement arrangements work and why we use them.
  • Tenders: Find out how the government runs tenders for new work and what you need to do to be part of them.