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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

An analysis of SMEs’ needs in public procurement

The objective of this study is to improve the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in public procurement. It identifies support actions to reduce the barriers SMEs face and to communicate the opportunities offered to them by...


The study’s results can contribute to policy making and provide additional tools and channels to better communicate market opportunities, as well as existing measures that facilitate SME participation in public procurement. The study can also serve as a pilot for more extensive work around the issue.


Public procurement accounts for around 14% of the EU’s GDP, but despite the new SME-friendly provisions introduced by the 2014 public procurement directives, SME participation in public procurement is still limited compared to their role in national economies. Several barriers make it difficult for SMEs to participate in and win tenders.

Easier access to public procurement markets can help SMEs find new opportunities and grow. In a time of crisis, greater SME participation in public procurement can also make a significant contribution to economic recovery.

Being a public sector supplier with long-term contract commitments may shield a company against recession. Moreover, as subcontractors of larger firms in public procurement, SMEs could increase their business opportunities while reducing cash flow volatility and other risks. The strong involvement of SMEs in public procurement also allows contracting authorities to considerably broaden their potential supplier base and benefit from more competition for public contracts.


30 JUNE 2021
SME needs analysis in public procurement - final report