Finding tender leads!?

Finding tender leads is not difficult if you know where to look. Government and public sector tenders are often required to advertise in the press for fair access and openness. Private and corporate tenders are not so easy to locate and not-for-profit organizations use different avenues to source their suppliers.

Tender leads for public sector contracts can be found by:

    • Following up tender notices published in newspapers and trade magazines.

    • Monitoring online government tender bulletins on their websites, e.g. UK tenders can be viewed at or searching for high value EU contracts on the Tenders Electronic Daily site

    • The central or local offices of some government agencies may be approached directly. Find out in which newspapers (or elsewhere) they advertise and whether they keep a database of preferred suppliers. If so, find out how you can get onto that database.

Most government websites advertise a free tender service to promote broader access to their contracts. You can actually find any government website for leads. Governments that are transparent will have a dedicated website for all their tenders.

Tender leads for private sector contracts that are not publicly advertised will require more research by:

    • Building contacts with potential customers so that you are aware of business opportunities before they are tendered

    • Advertising your services in trade and professional magazines

    • Researching activities and trends in your area of business

    • Following up on news reports on developments in your industry sector

    • Networking in your business environment

There are commercial services available which scan the business world for as many tenders as possible. They gather the information and sort them into categories. When you subscribe to their services, they send you the information on tenders available for your industry. It is a very handy way to find tender leads if you don't have time to phone around and scan all the newspapers and bulletins.

Leads for the not-for-profit sector are not always advertised, so either

    • Use local voluntary and community sector networks and publications, or

    • Make direct contact with the purchaser such as the United Nations, World Bank and Oxfam through their websites which carry their tenders

Tender leads can also be found in commercial business support organisations and tender alert services that are equipped to help small businesses get access to tender information. They will also help you complete the tender documentation.

Be proactive. Stay in contact with the buying offices that put out the most appropriate tenders for your business. Tender information is made available as widely as possible but it doesn't mean that it will come to you automatically. Apart from keeping a keen eye on newspapers and the Tender Bulletins, apply the age-old business principle of networking.

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