London's largest organisations want to work with small and diverse businesses

London's largest organisations want to work with small and diverse businesses
Grow London Local
Grow London LocalMatching London small businesses to support

Posted: Fri 8th Dec 2023

Formed to help tackle London's inequality and green recovery following the coronavirus pandemic, the London Anchor Institutions' Network (LAIN) is a partnership between the public sector, education, cultural, faith-based and private industry organisations.

Members of the network have an ambition to buy more goods and services from London's smaller and diverse-owned businesses, either directly or through their vast supply chains. They include:

  • Greater London Authority (GLA)

  • London Fire Brigade

  • Metropolitan Police

  • NHS London

  • Transport for London (TfL)

  • Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC)

  • Thames Water

  • University College London

  • University of London

Public procurement processes can be confusing or difficult to engage with – especially if this is new to your business. Take a look at some essential tips and resources to help you to feel more confident in doing business with large organisations.

Finding contract opportunities

Find more information about contract opportunities and how to do business with LAIN with these helpful resources:

All public authority contracts are published on the UK government's public tender portals, including:

You'll need to register as a supplier in order to tender. New contracts are added all the time, so check back in regularly to stay up to date with all the latest opportunities.

Top tip: Use the "Advanced Search" option to identify contracts particularly suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or businesses from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VSCEs).

Reserved contracts

The Mayor of London has committed to supporting London's smaller and diversely-owned businesses. As such, public institutions are looking to reserve contracts under the relevant UK public-sector threshold specifically for:

  • London-based businesses, and/or

  • micro, small and medium-sized businesses, and/or

  • businesses from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector

This means that some lower-value contracts can be reserved for suppliers like yours in a specific geographic region (in this case, London) following a competitive bidding process. From catering and cleaning through to social media or picture-framing, you might be surprised at the range of reserved contracts on offer.

Top tip: Search for "Reserved Contract" within the opportunity title or description.

Support and events

LAIN hosted a market engagement event in June 2023 for small businesses interested in doing business together.

Watch the welcome address from the former Deputy Mayor of London for Business, Rajesh Agrawal:


Watch this webinar explaining how to find and access tender opportunities with members of the LAIN network, including the NHS, Greater London Authority, London Fire Brigade, Metropolitan Police Service and Transport for London.

You can also view the presentation slides from the webinar [PDF, 4.2MB].


Further guidance

Social value

Winning public-sector contracts

Other resources and relevant organisations


A project to support small and medium-sized enterprises and local organisations to access public contracts. Organisations registering through the portal can get free training and have the ability to develop a personalised plan to support their growth journey.


ReLondon can support your businesses' waste and resource management. Learn about the circular economy, find reports targeting waste in your industry or get involved to network with other businesses trying to change the way they manage resources.

SME Climate Hub

If your business is taking action to reach net zero and operate in a more sustainable way, the SME Climate Hub can help you deliver on your climate goals. This is a non-profit organisation that gives you access to tools and resources specifically designed for small businesses like yours.

Supply Change

Supply Change has teamed up with Orbit Group to develop a first-of-its-kind purchasing platform for voluntary, charitable and social enterprises (VCSEs). The open-access platform allows organisations like yours to access contract opportunities that deliver social impact.

BIG Integrate

Are you a small business in south London? Find new ways to innovate, keep your employees motivated and lower your costs. This business support programme is here to give you and your staff the knowledge and skills on anything to do with your supply chain management.


Here are explanations for some of the terms we use in this blog.

  • Micro business: Fewer than 10 employees and turnover less than £1.76 million per year.

  • Small business: Fewer than 50 employees and turnover less than £8.8 million per year.

  • Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME): Fewer than 250 employees and turnover less than £45 million.

  • Voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE): Any organisation that works with social purpose and that generates revenue through trading and reinvests any surplus back into the business or the community it serves.


Grow London Local: Support for London's small businesses

Grow London Local: Support for London's small businesses

No matter where you're based in London, you'll find relevant support and guidance on business planning, sales and marketing and much more, as well as opportunities to connect with like-minded business owners. Visit Grow London Local now


Disclaimer: Please note these guides have been created by and for the London Anchor Institutions' Network (LAIN) and may not reflect the specific procurement approaches, requirements and resources of other clients; it does not replace the procurement regulations, policies or procedures set up by legislation and/ or specific buying organisation which must be adhered to at all times.

Grow London Local
Grow London LocalMatching London small businesses to support

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