Opinion: Tony Corrigan CEO, Orbidal, ‘Every business should have an equal opportunity to compete for and win public contracts.’

There is an overriding belief among micro and small businesses that they never win business from public bodies because the system is stacked against them. They believe this even though they have already proven that they can successfully deliver to private sector clients using their creativity, efficiency, agility, innovation and know-how. 

Orbidal Group grew out of the frustration I saw in micro, small and medium sized businesses who despite their experience, expertise and capability, felt locked out of public tendering markets. Before going to market, we spent two years researching business attitudes towards tendering and the tendering process itself. While tendering is undoubtedly tedious and time-consuming, we found that the biggest problem was that businesses were unwilling to back themselves to be successful. Running a business is hard at the best of times (and these are not the best of times). Investing in ‘tendering’ is low down on the list of priorities for most businesses, yet micro, small and medium businesses are presently winning some €6 Billion of Irish contracts each year. 

Orbidal was founded on the core principle that every business should have an equal opportunity to compete for and win public contracts. Our mission is to eliminate the complexity of the tendering process so that businesses can compete based on their ability to deliver the contract rather than their ability to write tenders. 

To succeed as a business, we need to demonstrate to businesses that tendering has the potential to deliver real and sustainable revenue to their business. That is a challenge, when the prevailing wisdom is that “only big companies win contracts”, “it’s who you know” or “the cheapest price wins”. 

Since the start of COVID-19, we have seen an increased number of businesses who are interested in building a public contracting revenue stream. One such print and design business, with just 2 employees, used the Orbidal platform to source new opportunities to replace those lost from private sector clients. We compiled their first tender submission and they’ve gone on to win over €0.5m in new revenue since the start of 2020. More than that they have realised that although small and with limited prior experience, they are well able to compete with more established businesses. 

Tendering already requires a ‘socially distanced’ sales process. With the increases in government spending to counteract the economic impacts of COVID-19, there has rarely been a better time for businesses to develop a tendering strategy. At Orbidal, we’ve met this challenge head-on by launching an online training programme that uses our award-winning technology platform to enable businesses to build capability while competing for new revenues.  

Guaranteed Irish businesses have already demonstrated their quality and community commitment making them ideal candidates for government contracts. We have shared, through webinars and online training, the practical experiences, which can impact the fortunes of businesses starting out or taking a fresh look at tendering. Orbidal’s role is to help them be the best version that they can be of themselves and in doing so help contribute to the economic vitality of our businesses and communities. 

 

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