Canberra aims to boost its SME IT spend

Thursday, 14 September, 2017

Canberra aims to boost its SME IT spend

The federal government has announced that it has capped its IT contracts at a maximum value of $100 million and/or three years' duration, to enable smaller companies to bid for smaller components of larger projects.

Launching the program at an event at Canberra-based cybersecurity company Penten, Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor, Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security Dan Tehan said the initiative will have great benefits for small business.

"These are exciting changes that will actively encourage small innovators to sell us their ideas," Assistant Minister Taylor said.

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

CEO Matt Wilson said the procurement changes would enable Penten to more successfully compete for government business.

"Direct contracts support innovation," 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.

"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," he said.

The federal government is aiming to inject an extra $650 million annually (10% of its annual IT spend) into Australian technology SMEs (businesses with less than 200 staff).

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

Pictured: Angus Taylor, Michael McCormack and Dan Tehan. Courtesy Australian Government.

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