Public procurement as a driver of innovation in SMEs and public services
Innovation is crucial to achieve sustainable growth and jobs in European regions. New products and services strengthen the competitiveness of European enterprises and create jobs. Public procurement accounts for nearly 20% of GDP in Europe. The way in which this public money is spent has a clear and important impact on the economy. This is why public procurement of innovation can create huge opportunities. Purchasing innovative solutions allows public bodies on regional and local level a more efficient delivery of public services, lower energy consumption, lower life-cycle costs, and many... other advantages from having solutions that meet exactly their needs. At the same time, procurement of innovation offers opportunities for innovative SMEs that are agile and flexible enough to meet the specific needs of the public procurers. With the new Procurement Directives, the European Union has made the legal framework more innovation-friendly. Besides, EU Programmes and in particular the European Structural and Investment Funds and Horizon 2020 offer interesting funding opportunities for public procurement of innovative solutions. This guide shows to policy-makers in the regions and at national level what they can do to support innovation procurement. It presents potential tools to unlock the "power of the purse" of public procurement that can be used by regions. Examples from some regions illustrate these suggestions and should inspire other regions to engage in innovation procurement.