Small and medium sized businesses are being urged by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) to take advantage of the three month trial offer on its website www.supply2.gov.uk
From the beginning of May to the end of July contractors visiting www.supply2.gov.uk will be able to register to gain free access to public sector contracts valued under £100,000 for the UK and Northern Ireland.
Business Minister Shriti Vadera said: 'Small and medium sized businesses need our support to expand. Many smaller businesses are more innovative, have lower costs and present better value for taxpayers than larger firms.
'Introducing Britain's small firms to Government procurement contracts online will provide opportunities to grow that they would not have otherwise found.
'Encouraging more small businesses to register for opportunities will mean buyers benefit from increased competition and access to a wider range of suppliers.'
BERR has unveiled a strategy earlier this year to increase the amount of government business that is won by small firms and is considering whether a 30 per cent target should be set for public sector projects within the next five years.
John Wright, Federation of Small Businesses National Chairman said: 'The announcement of a free trial for small businesses to get access to public sector contracts is very welcome news.
“We supported the Supply2 initiative from the outset and we hope that this free trial period will encourage more small businesses to try their hand at delivering goods and services to the public sector.
'But local authorities and government departments must play their part too by making sure that more small business opportunities are advertised on Supply2.
“Opening up public sector procurement to the UK's 4.5 million small businesses can and should eradicate the false assumption that biggest is always best.'
The three month free trial, available to businesses registering for the first time, will provide access to contracts throughout the UK.