Business network launched to help companies compete for �6bn London Olympic contracts

A groundbreaking business 'dating agency' was launched at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium today to help companies across the UK compete for thousands of business opportunities relating to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and London Organising Committee (LOCOG) expect to allocate over £6bn of work as part of an estimated 75,000 future business opportunities covering direct contractors and their supply chains over the coming years.

The London 2012 Business Network, launched to over 600 business people at an event at Old Trafford today (16 January) will help companies compete for London 2012 business opportunities direct with London 2012 or with suppliers in its supply chain.

The Network has three component parts; essential information on upcoming opportunities and how to supply London 2012; business events; and the new 'CompeteFor' service, a business 'dating agency' that will match companies to thousands of opportunities supplying London 2012 contractors. Up to a fifth of London 2012 supply chain opportunities are expected to go through the CompeteFor system.

Launching the new London 2012 Business Network in Manchester, alongside Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell and ODA Chairman John Armitt, LOCOG Chairman Seb Coe said: "London 2012 is already providing a unique opportunity for businesses throughout the UK to raise their profile and reputation on the global stage, and the amount of big sporting events coming to the UK, as a result of us winning the right to host the Games could make this a 'golden decade' for major events in the UK and, therefore, British business.

"Delivering the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games is a massive logistical operation, requiring goods and services from a large number of firms. Businesses the length and breadth of the country will win contracts and we hope gain a huge amount of experience of what it takes to stage and host big sporting events. This should lead to a new 'export market' for the UK. The success of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 not only led to a large increase in direct foreign investment in New South Wales ̵1; it also led to Australian businesses establishing an international reputation for their skills in delivering big global events. London 2012 gives UK business this opportunity."

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said: "The London 2012 Business Network will provide invaluable support for companies and is one of the keys to unlocking the £6bn of contracts that will be up for grabs thanks to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is the concrete dividend the UK will receive from London 2012, leaving a positive legacy for decades to come.

"Businesses, their employees and the wider economy will all reap the rewards. Almost all the contracts so far have gone to British companies with a real impact right across the UK."

The CompeteFor service is launching now, well in advance of the bulk of London 2012 opportunities coming on stream, in order to give UK companies of all sizes plenty of notice to register and get familiar with the service.

CompeteFor, which is co-funded by Regional Development Agencies, will also link companies with business improvement services, boosting the long-term competitiveness of companies across the UK.

Business Minister Stephen Timms said: "London 2012 is a great opportunity for British business and I want to encourage as many firms as possible to benefit from the Olympic and Paralympic Games. CompeteFor will give firms access to our business support services through Business Link which will help them grow and develop their business, not only for the Games, but as a lasting legacy for the future."

For more about the London 2012 Business Network visit www.london2012.com/business

Image: The London 2012 Business Network aims to create new opportunities for British companies

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