SMEs and Government embrace a new way to foster collaboration

Government and SMEs each gain great benefit from working together. The better they can understand each other’s needs the more effectively they can collaborate. A new working group is strengthening mutual understanding to ensure that both sides get the most out of their relationship.

For small and medium enterprises (SMEs) the length and breadth of Australia, the public sector is a hugely important part of the business ecosystem, with substantial expenditure that sustains thousands of local businesses.

But it’s not a one-way relationship. Just as SMEs rely on Government as a customer, Governments, at Federal, State and Local level know that they simply cannot deliver their services to the Australian public without the help and support of SMEs.

For this mutually beneficial relationship to work effectively, both sides need to understand each other well, in order to best meet each other’s needs and requirements.

A new approach to collaboration

A new working group, the brainchild of Suzanne Roche, has been set up to help facilitate these business/Government relationships. As Client and Industry Relationship Director at Informed Solutions, and previously General Manager of Policy and Advocacy with the Australian Information Industry Association and a Senior Executive in the Australian Public Service, Suzanne was well placed to see that there was an opportunity for greater collaboration.

She formed the working group in 2018, to help demonstrate to Government the value of SMEs, the diversity of approaches they can bring, and how Government can best maximise its engagements with the SME sector to harness the delivery of this value to the Government and ultimately the economy.

Advocating for SMEs

The working group has around 10 SME members, all of whom have good relationships with Government. They meet with Government Agencies to get a better understanding of their needs, and to advocate for the requirements of SMEs in their procurement processes and policies.

Deirdre Diamante, Principal at Mia Consulting, one of the founder members of the group explains: “Government welcomes advice and guidance on how its policies impact SMEs. They recognise that we can share useful information on how policies could be adapted to help more SMEs deliver more Government services”.

Hot topics

Issues the group discusses include:

  • The effective and right paths to engage with Government
  • Procurement including how SMEs can be more competitive in larger procurements
  • Management of perceived risks to select an SME for major programs of work
  • Methods for businesses to win and deliver small and incremental pieces of work as a pathway to encourage a government buyer to move from a larger incumbent (see Mia’s blog ‘How to become an incumbent to Government’)
  • The Digital Transformation Strategy.

By increasing Government’s awareness of the needs of SMEs, the members of the working group aims to further enhance the role that these businesses play in delivering Government services, benefitting business and Government.

For further information please contact Mr Tim Morton (, Mia’s Federal Government Senior Consultant.


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