That this Assembly calls upon the Executive to actively promote and raise awareness and understanding of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) across the public sector; and further calls upon the Executive to put in place appropriate measures to increase uptake of the SBRI by Departments and the wider public sector to help stimulate and drive innovation, especially in local micro-businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises.
SBRI is, in my opinion, possibly the most important tool for government to support small businesses in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is 98% small to medium enterprises, and 95% micro-businesses. Yet, the very people who provide the bulk of the private sector get the least assistance.
You see, it’s not funding, it’s procurement. It’s not a grant, it’s a purchase order. And it also neatly solves the problem of government not getting what they want out of the current procurement jungle (though they get what they ask for, to all our detriment).