The Swimming with the Big Fish SME Matchmaker Service - useful information for SMEs

Programme and Project Partners (PPP) is a 20-year £7 billion framework of megaprojects which aims to transform project delivery at the Sellafield site, its supply chain and the socioeconomic landscape of Cumbria.

Embracing the Project 13 approach, PPP has adopted the Multi-Project Procurement (MPP) commercial strategy. This encourages the creation of long-term relationships between its Key Delivery Partners (KDPs) and the supply chain and measures success on enterprise outcomes.

The Swimming with the Big Fish SME Matchmaker Service was created by Solomons Europe as part of PPP’s strategy to ensure the aligned supply chain it wants to develop was inclusive of SMEs. PPP has laid down the challenge for its supply chain partnerships to realise ambitious targets for best practice project delivery and meaningful social impact that makes a real difference to the lives and careers of people in West Cumbria. Its approach to SME engagement recognises the important role they can play in achieving PPP’s Critical Success Factors (CSFs):

Cost certainty and double-digit percentage savings
Confidence to invest in the workforce and local area, and a significant reduction in agency supplied workers
Realisation of aligned rewards through successful delivery of project outcomes
Early Contractor Involvement from conception to create certainty of achieving outcomes

The MPP KDPs Frameworks are now complete with all but one KDP package (KDP7 Access, Scaffolding, Insulation and Painting) to be awarded (expected in July 2023). As of June 2023, 23 SMEs have a total of 35 Heads of Terms (HoTs) in place with KDPs.

The main focus of the SWTBF SME Matchmaker Service is now to convert these HoTs into actual Framework agreements with the KDPs to award work via call off contracts. The SWTBF SME Matchmaker Service will help facilitate agreement of the Frameworks to ensure the socioeconomic pledges the SMEs and KDPs made at tender stage are realised.

A total of 116 SMEs and microbusinesses have been through the Matchmaker Service assessment process. This involved completing a questionnaire using criteria reflecting PPP’s CSFs, and gave each company the opportunity to highlight their capability and capacity and make socioeconomic pledges should they be awarded long-term work.

While the assessment process has now come to an end to coincide with the completion of the MPP, SMEs can still register their interest with the SWTBF SME Matchmaker Service. There could be further requirement for fresh SME engagement to fill gaps and meet the needs of KDP supply chain evolution through the duration of the Frameworks.

If you would like to register your interest, please contact or

PLEASE NOTE: Only businesses that meet the European Commission definition of an SME can register their interest with the SWTBF SME Matchmaker Service. It is important to read and understand The European Commission’s User Guide to the SME Definition document before pursuing your interest. Click here to download the definition document and access a handy SME self-assessment tool.

Click here to learn more about the progress of the SWTBF SME Matchmaker Service.

You can also keep up to date with the latest news and views from the SWTBF SME Matchmaker Service and PPP through Solomons Europe’s social media channels.

LinkedIn: @solomons-europe
Twitter: @SolomonsEurope

Posts and articles are published here solely for informational purposes. The content contained therein may be brief and is intended to offer general guidance that may be of interest. The information provided is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for any professional advice, consultation or service.

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Solomons Europe is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Centrix House, Crow Lane East, Newton le Willows, WA12 9UY. Registered number: 3548482

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