So you want to be a tenderpreneur?
Did you know that 30 per cent of all public procurement has been set aside for women, youth and persons with disabilities? Helen Njoroge of Tenders Kenya, shares how to make a winning bid.
A tender is an opportunity to provide a good or service to procuring public, private or non-profit entity. And no, you don’t have to have a business to win one.
Depending on what they want, one can bid as an individual consultant or as a formal business entity.
I think that women are hesitant to get into tender business because it seems like a frustrating process. Many new businesses are intimidated by tendering because of lack of awareness, training, funds, and corruption.
For a long time, tendering was male-dominated but women are becoming more empowered, more networked, and are able to clinch big tenders. Again, tendering in Kenya was a preserve of a select few companies.
The biggest shift came when the government put in place a policy where 30 per cent of all public procurement was set aside for the youth, women, and persons with disabilities (PWDs) under the Access to Government Procurement Opportunity (AGPO) in 2013.
Government tenders are usually advertised every Tuesday in local newspapers and also on the public procurement information portal (PPIP). Private entities and NGOs normally advertise on their own personal websites, but my website (www.tenderskenya.co.ke) comes in to bridge that gap so you do not have to visit every website.
Once you come across a tender you want, the most important thing before bidding is to go through the tender document, noting down all requirements to see if you meet all of them.
If you do, you need to come up with a compelling technical and financial proposal. You must consider whether you are able to provide exactly what is needed; and consider the cost of the project to completion and whether it is financially worthwhile for your business.
You also need to consider whether your business has the manpower to run the project and if not, the costs of hiring a capable team.
Other things that can be considered are whether the business has the expertise and qualifications that prove its capacity to do the job. Also, it is important to do market surveillance so you can know what prices to quote for your bid.
To put you at an advantage over other bidders, do research and most importantly ensure that you go through the whole tender process and attend all meetings. For example, you need to ensure that you attend the pre-bid meeting which happens on the date of the submission deadline date.
The government entities usually do preliminary analysis of submitted bids at a pre-bid meeting, and there is also the tender-opening meeting where they check if applicants met the mandatory requirements in their applications.
It is at this meeting that one can do a competitor analysis and know who they are competing with and also learn about the most competitive prices that were submitted. This can help one learn how to price goods and services more competitively.
Most people unfortunately think that once you submit a tender, that that is the end, and so they fail to do more due diligence and follow the whole process through.
The pandemic has however demoralised both procuring entities and bidders. We have experienced periods with declined opportunities from the government and the private sector.
On the flip side, however, we have seen an increase in procurement opportunities in the health industry and from the non-profit sector. This would be a good opportunity for businesses to diversify their clientele.
One can make a sustainable living out of being a tenderpreneur. The only big business is in tendering. One business can decide to sell shoes to walk-in customers in a mall, another can supply military boots in bulk to a government agency, and another business can do both. The difference is in each business strategy and diversification.
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