There’s a short paragraph in Budget 2018 that didn’t garner much buzz last year. But it holds hope for women-owned companies that want a bigger piece of the roughly $20 billion annual federal market.
As part of boosting the overall number of female-run firms in this country, the Government of Canada pledged to make sure its own suppliers comprise more women-owned small and medium-sized businesses. That means upping their numbers by 50 per cent. (Sadly, this would still only raise the number of women-owned businesses selling to the federal government to 15 per cent.)
Globally, more governments are leveraging their massive spending power to do good — not just to buy things. For the Government of Canada, this means changing procurement so that it can do more business with under-represented groups: small companies led by women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities. Companies with green operating practices are also desirable.
How to increase the ranks of female suppliers?
In June 2018, the government’s Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates published Modernizing Federal Procurement for Small and Medium Enterprises, Women-Owned and Indigenous Businesses. This weighty tome offered 40 recommendations for achieving these goals.
So how would the Government of Canada increase the number of contracts it signs with women entrepreneurs? This is still being studied, but one possibility is to set targets.
With most Editors Canada members being women, the siren call of the federal market becomes even stronger. If you want to learn about the rules for selling to the Government of Canada, read my previous blog posts on the topic.
- Winning contracts with the Government of Canada
These eight essential tips will help you register your firm as a federal supplier and better understand the mystifying procurement process.
- How to market your services to the feds
Even after winning a spot on a federal supply tool, you need to keep marketing your business to federal buyers. Remember, you’re a small fish in a big pond of suppliers.
- Perks of being a federal supplier aboard ProServices
ProServices is a mandatory supply tool for many services, including editing and writing, for contracts up to $106,000. Your firm must have been in business at least one year to qualify.
- New federal e-commerce site: Direct sales, clients galore
A new Amazon.com-like website is going to replace the feds’ buyandsell.gc.ca tendering site. Clients will be able to buy directly from suppliers online and post internal supplier reviews.
Get on ProServices, pronto
One of the smartest things a solopreneur can do right now is get on ProServices. The next deadline to apply is Friday, June 28.
Firms on government-wide supply tools such as ProServices will appear in catalogues on the government’s new e-commerce site. This portal will publish all Canadian public sector tenders — not just federal ones — that are subject to the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Other public entities like provincial, territorial and municipal governments can choose to shop from these catalogues, too.
Lastly, editors vying to break into the federal market should brush up on the Government of Canada’s Canada.ca Content Style Guide. They can also download an English or French recording of an Editors Canada webinar on web writing and this style guide, presented by Government of Canada web guru Julie Dufour (free for Editors Canada members).
Marion Soublière of M.E.S. Editing and Writing Services in Ottawa will present “Winning contracts with the Government of Canada” at Editors Canada’s Conference 2019 in Halifax, June 7 to 9.
The Editors’ Weekly is the official blog of Editors Canada. Contact us.