Innovation Launch Pad: Government calls on small businesses to submit cost-cutting ideas

It's an interesting idea. Sir Philip Green picked holes in government internal spending earlier this year and many contracts and processes are being renegotiated. In the spirit of StartUp Britain, it's only fair that small businesses get a crack at the whip.

Take a look at the Innovation Launch Pad site and submit a proposal. The deadline is looming: last chance to register your ideas is Friday, April 22.

So what's in it for you?

The answer is that we're not quite sure. Does submitting an idea mean that you are effectively tendering for business? This is neither confirmed nor denied on the site. What we do know is that a pack of civil servants will sift through the best ideas and "these suppliers will be invited to present their ideas at a Product Surgery in the summer".

There's also a rather juicy list of successful UK entrepreneurs backing the scheme. These include:

  • Jon Moulton, founder and managing director of private equity firm Better Capital and member of the British Venture Capital Hall of Fame
  • Mike Lynch OBE, co-founder of software start-up and now the UK's largest software company Autonomy and also a trustee at NESTA
  • Hermann Hauser CBE, founder of over 20 technology companies including Acorn Computers, who has an honorary CBE for 'innovative service to the UK enterprise sector'
  • Sherry Coutu, founder of two highly successful businesses in the financial services industry, investor in 35 businesses, and rated as the 'top CEO mentor in Europe'
  • David Cleevely, co-founder of Abcam and founder of Analysys and Chairman of Cambridge Angels
  • Stephen Kelly, former CEO of Micro Focus and the Government Crown Representative for mutuals.

These 'Mentors' will be on hand to help the applicants with the best ideas to form fully-fledged proposals to pitch to government.

Francis Maude, the brains behind the operation, says: "This Government does not believe there is a one size fits all approach to delivering services. That is why we want to make it easy for small businesses to tell us their ideas, as they will have a vital role to play in helping us to find new, innovative and more cost effective ways to improve services to the public.

"We are doing everything we can to open up business to SMEs. We have committed to publishing all contracts online for business to see, got rid of the bureaucracy to allow new companies to supply government and appointed Stephen Allott to represent SME interests in Government."

'Easy' might be pushing it slightly: 500 words is a pretty concise wordcount to solve the government's spending woes. Nevertheless, the mentors are expecting great things from the UK's entrepreneurial minds.

"Small businesses in the UK have a fantastic reputation for innovation," says Jon Moulton. "The Innovation Launch Pad is a real opportunity for SMEs to showcase their proposals to Government. I'm looking forward to working with the best suppliers to help develop their ideas into really strong business proposals."

Visit the Innovation Launch Pad site

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