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 a 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 for us, 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.

We prioritise support for SMEs and regional businesses

In NSW Government, one of our priorities is to support small or medium enterprises (SMEs) and regional businesses whenever we can.

This means if you run 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 for suppliers on eTendering. Here, you can apply for relevant prequalification schemes and respond to requests for tenders (RFTs).

To be notified of current and proposed tender opportunities, you can register to become a supplier on our Supplier Hub, which links directly to the eTendering platform.

When you’re accepted into 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.

To become a supplier for NSW Government, register now on Supplier Hub.

Contracts up to $10,000

Government agencies can buy up to $10,000 (excluding GST) 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 can determine that we can get better value for money that way.

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

Small business contracts up to $50,000

For any goods and services or construction contracts up to $50,000 (excluding GST), government agencies can buy directly from a small business. This applies even if there's a whole-of-government arrangement in place.

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

Under the Small and regional enterprises and regional procurement policy, a small business is a business with 1-19 FTEs including sole traders and start-ups. A medium business is a business with 20-199 FTEs.

SME and regional procurement policy

We’ve developed special rules on how we engage small or medium enterprises (SMEs) and regional businesses, so more government work can come your way.

Goods and services contracts under $250,000

Under our ‘SME or regional first’ initiative, for contracts under $250,000 (excluding GST), NSW Government agencies must first consider buying from an SME or regional business – so long as we’re permitted to buy directly.

According to the Small and regional enterprises and regional procurement policy:

A small or medium enterprise (SME) is an Australian or New Zealand based enterprise with fewer than 200 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees.

A regional supplier is a business of any size with a registered business address in Regional NSW. Regional NSW includes all areas within NSW outside the Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong metropolitan areas.

Goods and services contracts over $3 million

For contracts over $3 million (excluding GST), 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 focus on encouraging SME participation to deliver the contract.

For contracts under $3 million, we encourage agencies to use the same evaluation criter, but it's not a requirement.

Read the Small and regional enterprises 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 to roll out the product or service. This includes direct negotiation.

Making it easier to work with us

We’re 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.