Australia's government is changing how it works with small business -- here's what you need to know

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This is an excerpt from Australia’s Business Challenges 2017 — a comprehensive must-read e-book for small business owners brought to you by Bank of Queensland. Scroll down to download a copy.

It’s been a while since we relied on monochrome mainframes that took up entire rooms to get some simple processing done.

But if the popular vision of government processes and bureaucracy remains somewhat similar, you may have thought getting access to tenders was too locked down or laborious to even consider wasting time or effort on as a small business.

But going the way of the blinking dials and spooling tape is the old way of securing contracts, with an overhaul of the government tendering process aimed at making it possible for smaller technology companies, among others, to compete with the established industry players for service contacts.

Overall government contracts in information and communications technology (ICT) are worth as much as $9 billion annually and the plan is to funnel 10 per cent – or $900 million – towards entrepreneurial tech suppliers.

It’s part of the federal government’s ongoing National Innovation and Science Agenda to help drive future productivity and take advantage of opportunities in the ever-changing digital landscape.

In being a better customer, the government is hoping it can foster more innovative companies and transform the local tech ecosystem.

Along with smaller, more agile businesses will come opportunities for shorter, innovative projects which are easier to manage on this scale. Instead of taking years, these may be months for instance.

It’s appropriate that such a scheme is being run online through what is known as the Digital Marketplace, launched last year by the Department of Industry’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA).

It draws on ideas and software from the UK digital marketplace service and replaces the old method of referring to “panels” of preselected suppliers.

The culture of startups in Australia and elsewhere is anything but lumbering and the change will add new players to a market traditionally dominated by blue-chip global tech companies.

To keep reading, fill in your details in the form below for access to the full ‘Australia’s Business Challenges’ e-book — a must-read summary of the key issues for small business in 2017.

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This article has been compiled by Business Insider. Bank of Queensland Limited ABN 32 009 656 740 (Australian Credit Licence No 244616) (BOQ) has not been involved in the preparation of this article. This article, and any advice that it contains has been prepared by and is the responsibility of Business Insider. The information contained in this article is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice. BOQ makes no representations or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the article. To the extent permitted by law, BOQ and its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors exclude liability for any loss or damage sustained by any readers of the article. BOQ accepts no responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this article. BOQ is not responsible for third party websites or articles. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BOQ, nor does BOQ confirm their accuracy.

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