Bus and train operator Go-Ahead Group has pledged to spend at least £250m a year with SMEs from 2022 onwards, the firm said this morning.
At the moment, the FTSE 250 firm works with 3,200 SMEs, which account for 75 per cent of its supply chain.
They provide goods and services such as mobile ticketing, station facilities, and spare parts for the firm’s buses.
Last year, it spend £247m on these firms, but said it would look to increase this by £15m in 2023.
By that time it hopes to have added 100 more SMEs to its supply chain.
Go-Ahead said that SMEs were the “lifeblood of local communities” and that spending more money with such firms could make a “big difference”.
Finance chief Elodie Brian said: “This isn’t about shutting out big businesses. This is about providing smaller businesses – who are often disadvantaged – the opportunity to develop, grow and compete with large companies for business.
“Working with local SMEs will not only support the economy and communities but benefit passengers directly through responsive and innovative local goods and services.”
Compared to big businesses, SMEs have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
According to the OECD, 70-80 per cent of small businesses have suffered a drop in revenue since February 2020.