Government to appoint IT broker for SMBs

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Government to appoint IT broker for SMBs

Aimed at mitigating CIO fears.

The Federal Government has announced that it would appoint an IT Supplier Advocate to help small to medium businesses (SMBs) win Government contracts.

By acting as a broker and spokesperson for SMBs, the advocate was expected to improve how they were perceived by enterprise and government CIOs.

The plans were announced last night at the CeBIT 2010 conference in Hannover, Germany by ACT Senator Kate Lundy.

The initiative was part of the Government's Supplier Advocates program that was launched in July 2009 by Innovation, Industry Science and Research Minister, Kim Carr.

Carr's program had a total $8.2m in Government funding and would see key industry figures appointed as Supplier Advocates in a range of sectors.

Each Supplier Advocate was expected to promote supply chain development, technical and testing standards, and Australian industry capabilities in the Government marketplace.

Lundy said: "This initiative recognises the importance of government being able to access the often nimble, innovative capacity of small business."

CIOs of government organisations and multinational enterprises were often hesitant to undertake business with SMBs due to "unfounded perceptions of risk", she said.

Noting that the Australian government was the largest local buyer of ICT, she said the initiative would ensure SMBs were not disadvantaged in "unfair or unreasonable ways".

"Without addressing the process by which government purchases, uses and maintains technology, it is impossible to improve innovation," Lundy said.

ICT research centre NICTA has offered to work with the IT Supplier Advocate once they are appointed.

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