Kronos Group

How startups can benefit from EU’s public procurement innovation initiatives


Procurement has become a vital part of organising business processes, particularly as a result of the supply chain disruptions that volatile geopolitical conditions have brought. The EU has taken several steps to improve its overall procurement function and help startups and SMEs grow in this volatile economic environment. 

The importance of procurement innovation for the EU has been particularly considered in this context. This has created a landscape where startups and SMEs can thrive. Access to new markets, investment and funding, validation and credibility, and innovation and collaboration opportunities are the ways public procurement helps startups

Looking at the start-ups that have successfully collaborated with the public sector makes this fact all the more apparent. While leveraging these benefits is highly advised, they can be exploited to their fullest potential with the help of procurement consulting.

The European Union has placed renewed focus on procurement innovation in recent years, and its initiatives on public procurement of innovation present advantages for startups to benefit from.

Public procurement in the EU makes up 14% of its GDP. This means that the EU has a huge potential market for innovative products and services. However, the ideal goals for innovation have not been achieved as of yet since its potential is underutilised.

The EU has been adamant in creating a healthy landscape for startups to thrive in. Over the years, the EU has implemented multiple programmes to encourage startups to engage in innovative business practices. The existence of such an extensive array of programmes catered towards innovation and entrepreneurship makes apparent the focus that the EU has placed on innovation in recent years.

Among the many initiatives, the EU’s use of public procurement as a tool for innovation has been particularly impactful, encouraging public sector organisations to engage with startups and innovative suppliers.

Startups are in the ideal position to leverage this innovation-focused landscape for their growth and success.

The importance of procurement innovation for the EU

The EU’s public procurement initiatives describe innovation procurement, referring to any procurement process that either buys the process of innovation or the outcomes of innovation.

The reason behind the focus placed on innovation in the context of procurement is the extensive opportunities it offers startups for the development of innovative solutions. These solutions can be leveraged to boost economic recovery, support green and digital transition, and enhance the resilience of the EU.  

The EU has launched several programmes aimed at supporting innovation in procurement. Their governing bodies continue to maintain and improve these programmes to this day, further facilitating a healthy ecosystem for innovation-driven startups. These programmes provide funding, partnership and collaboration opportunities, and a slew of other benefits to promote sustainable growth.

These initiatives have created a uniquely opportune landscape for startups to thrive in the EU.

The ways public procurement helps startups

The benefits that startups can gain from the EU’s focus on procurement innovation are many. Here are some of the more impactful benefits.

Access to new markets

By participating in the public procurement processes presented by innovation procurement initiatives, startups can gain access to new markets and customers, and even public sector contracts. This helps startups expand their market reach and grow faster.

Opportunities for investment and funding

The innovation procurement initiatives launched by the EU also provide opportunities for startups to secure funding through innovation partnerships and other collaborative procurement processes. This can help startups develop and commercialise new products and services.

Validation and credibility

This innovation-focused environment creates opportunities for startups to enter into contracts with public sector organisations. This allows startups to showcase the quality of their products and services to a wider audience, helping them build brand reputation and credibility in the marketplace.

Innovation and collaboration

Opportunities for innovation and collaboration are part and parcel of these innovation procurement initiatives. Startups have the opportunity to enter into innovation partnerships or collaborate with public sector organisations to develop new solutions.

Forming successful collaborations with the public sector in the EU

As detailed above, startups stand to gain massively by collaborating with the public sector in the EU. 

Here is what it takes for a startup in the EU to form a successful collaboration with the public sector:

  • Understanding the needs of the public sector

Startups should be mindful of the needs and priorities of the public sector when looking for collaboration opportunities. This can be done by researching the goals and objectives of public sector organisations and engaging with their stakeholders.

  • Developing a value proposition

Startups should be able to showcase how their products and services add value to the operations of the public sector. This should also clearly demonstrate the benefits of the product or service, such as cost-saving or improving efficiency.

  • Fostering relationships and networks

Startups should take steps to develop relationships with public sector stakeholders, such as procurement officers and innovation specialists. This can be done by attending events or engaging with public organisations through social media and other means.

  • Ensuring flexibility and adaptability

Startups should be flexible and highly adaptable when working with public sector organisations. This may involve adjusting outcomes to suit the needs of the public sector and being open to new ways of working.

  • Grasping the procurement process

Startups should be aware of the public procurement process and the rules and regulations that govern it. This can be done by consulting procurement guidelines or seeking advice from procurement consulting specialists.

Leverage the EU’s public procurement innovation initiatives to the fullest extent with procurement expertise

Procurement is a popular topic of conversation in the business landscape, especially due to the supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic and unstable geopolitical conditions. 

One of the EU’s most effective responses to this situation is the focus on procurement innovation, encouraging startups and SMEs to engage in innovation while subsequently encouraging public sector organisations to take steps toward innovation procurement. 

While this creates unique opportunities for startups to thrive within the EU, procurement consulting has the potential to help startups gain an exponential advantage by enabling them to leverage the benefits offered to their fullest potential.

Julie Brand

A part of Kronos Group’s team since 2018, Julie is a leader who has honed her specialisation in business transformation and utilised her expansive financial expertise to power business strategy and add value to what we do. She has amassed experience (Pfizer, Sony, AXA, SMEC, Tradelink) all over the world in strategy, project management, analysis, and supply chain.