TechUK, a trade body representing the UK tech industry, is aiming to help startups secure public sector deals by introducing them to larger firms that they can partner with.

The organisation, which represents more than 850 tech firms across the UK, believes that startups who partner with large companies will significantly achieve their chances of getting business from government.

Naureen Khan, associate director of government and education at TechUK told Techworld that public sector procurement deals are worth between £14 billion and £15 billion annually.

“You’ve got the government looking to attract new entrants and innovative suppliers,” she said.

What’s been missing is government as a buyer of technology. What have they done to attract startups and some of the technology that’s available from the startups? A route to market for the startups to work with government would be partnering with larger and medium sized companies.”

TechUK is hosting a series of events in a bid to help startups forge these partnerships with larger firms.

The latest one took place at Google Campus in Shoreditch, with more than 70 people attending, including Dragons Den investor Piers Linney.

One of the startups in attendance was Hampshire-based enterprise mobile app developer Dootrix.

The company has already built virtual learning apps for the Metropolitan Police and the UK Military but it believes it would be able to do far more for government if the right doors were opened.

Tim Edwards, director at Dootrix and former head of technology for Eurostar, told Techworld: “We’d absolutely like to do more business with public sector. There’s a lot of people out there with projects that we know we can deliver but it’s quite often getting in the room that’s the problem. Getting through (preferred supplier list) and the gatekeepers and all that stuff.”

Edwards said the networking event was far better than some of the others he’s been to, which can be “quite stagnant and stale”.

He added: “We’ve had a number of conversations since the event at a couple of different levels. Some people who are potential partners on things like back end cloud infrastructure. We also spoke to bigger people there that we’d love to work with on big government work.”

Government has tried to make it easier for smaller companies to secure public sector deals with the introduction of a procurement platform called G-Cloud. 

However, Dootrix, which has been on G-Cloud for over a year, hasn't found it to be of any use, having secured zero deals through the platform. 

Alastair Mitchell, CEO of fast-growing enterprise collaboration startup Huddle, said: "If more services were procured from British-born organisations, it would not only help drive the economy but also reinvigorate certain industries and provide later-stage start-ups with game-changing government contracts." 

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