altBy Sebastian Coe - 19 March 2009

Just over a year on from the launch of the London 2012 Business Network the economic benefits generated by the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games speak for themselves.


Together the London Organising Committee (LOCOG) and Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) will procure contracts worth £6 billion and that means new jobs and new public investment in homes, infrastructure and sporting venues for the capital and the wider UK .
Contracts are going to a diverse group of firms. Some 98 per cent of London 2012 suppliers are UK based with around half based outside of London. Sectors involved with us to date range from IT to architectural services to steel fabricators but that’s not just for large employers. In fact, over two-thirds are small or medium sized businesses (SMEs).
A major component of the London 2012 Business Network is our online ‘business dating agency’, CompeteFor. Over 54,000 companies have already registered on CompeteFor where 1,700 opportunities worth millions of pounds have been advertised on the service since its launch in January 2008. It’s easy to sign up with over 90 per cent of recruits so far coming from the SME sector.
The Government funded ODA still has significant Olympic Park contracts to place, however, the bulk of opportunities are now through their contractors. CompeteFor is already helping companies access this work as direct contractors are encouraged to place new opportunities on the system.
Although the procurement news to date has been focused on the ODA’s build side of the business, privately funded LOCOG is set to start procurement for Games-time goods and services from the 2009/10 financial year onwards as we move from detailed planning to delivery.
There is all to play for as we begin to release hundreds of opportunities for UK companies of all sizes to secure contracts to supply our Games-time goods and services. That’s everything from temporary seating to gym equipment and shuttlecocks!
The 2012 Games is already proving a golden opportunity to ensure growth in the UK economy. That should leave a legacy of fitter British businesses with the expertise of supplying the world’s largest sporting event.
With events like the World Gymnastics Championships, Paralympic World Cup, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and, hopefully the 2018 World Cup, coming to the UK we have a ‘golden decade’ of sport and associated contracts ahead that I hope all CompeteFor firms consider bidding for.
Together we can make London 2012 as successful for business on the bottom line as it will be for athletes at the finishing line!
Sebastian Coe is the chairman of London 2012. He won four Olympic medals during his career and is the only man to retain the 1500 metres title, finishing first at Moscow in 1980 and in Los Angeles 1984. He also set eight world records. He is a vice president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)  amd a non-executive member of the board of directors of England 2018 Ltd., the England World Cup bid committee



I wish more people would see the opportunities that the Olympics
offer this country rather than constantly try to knock them down.
If this attitude had existed in the 19th century heaven knows how
the likes of Brunel would have got on. We should embrace the
games and, in the words of Kennedy, ask, "Not what they can do
for us, but what we do for them".
By Dan Turner

19 March 2009 at 10:39am