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'Dating Agency' for business launched to help South East companies compete for London 2012 contracts

16 January 2008

A groundbreaking ‘business dating agency’ was launched today to help companies based in the South East compete for business opportunities helping deliver the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The ‘London 2012 Business Network’, live from today at, will help companies in the South East compete for London 2012 direct and supply chain contracts.

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.

Over 3100 companies in the South East have registered to receive e-alerts about London 2012 procurement opportunities. Even in these early stages, when only a small proportion of contracts have been issued, 88 companies or organisations based in the South East have supplied the ODA.

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.

CompeteFor, which is co-funded by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), will also link companies with local Business Link services which will help boosting the long-term competitiveness of companies in the South East.

The service will be launched to companies in the region at a South East London 2012 steering group business event on 20 February 2008 at the Madejski Stadium, Reading where up to 400 businesses are expected to attend.

Paddy Herlihy, SEEDA’s South East Co-ordinator for the 2012 Games, said:

"Businesses in the South East have already shown that they are hungry to win business for London 2012. The London 2012 Business Network will allow more South East companies to benefit from the Games. SEEDA and its regional partners are committed to helping businesses make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity."

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 – 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.

"The London 2012 Business Network will help companies make the most of the opportunities ahead. It will enable companies to compete for the thousands of contracts that will be available and make sure companies the length and breadth of the country are aware of and can prepare for the opportunities that staging the Games in London in 2012 will bring."

ODA Chairman John Armitt said:

"We want London 2012 to be a showcase for both sporting and business excellence. The ODA has already let contracts worth over £1 billion, most of these opportunities have been won by small and medium sized companies and around half are based outside of London.

"The vast majority of business opportunities remain to be let and this year represents a huge opportunity for UK businesses. In 2007 understandably there was a lot of focus on costs. In 2008 this will switch to the benefits this investment will bring, including jobs and skills.

"We want to help businesses in the South East make the most of the opportunities ahead. The first ever ‘business dating agency’ for suppliers on a project of this scale, which goes live today as part of the new London 2012 Business Network, will give companies large and small a once in a lifetime opportunity to support the delivery of the London 2012 Games."

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 £6 billion 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 London 2012 Business Network will also provide essential information on upcoming contract opportunities and business events as well as an updated ODA Supplier Guide.

How CompeteFor works

ODA and LOCOG will advertise their direct contract opportunities online through CompeteFor and direct London 2012 contractors appointed will be encouraged to advertise their supply chain opportunities through the system. For example the Olympic Stadium construction contractor ‘Team Stadium’ has opened the service with an advert for their site accommodation cleaning contract.

Companies at every level of the London 2012 supply chain will be encouraged to advertise their supplier opportunities through CompeteFor.

After registering basic company information any interested business can view the opportunities advertised. Companies can then complete a business profile, which involves answering a series of simple questions, to be able to compete for opportunities.

A company’s business profile is automatically tested against a small number of minimum standards in areas such as health and safety. If these requirements are not met the company is automatically referred to tailored, local business support provided by Business Link.

Once a company’s profile is successfully published on CompeteFor they are automatically matched to opportunities which suit their business and invited, by email, to apply for them by filling out a short, tailored application form. The buyer advertising the contract then selects a shortlist of companies and invites them to formally tender through the buyer’s own procurement system.

Details of the winning bidder(s) are published on CompeteFor and unsuccessful bidders receive feedback from the buyer. Throughout the process local business support agencies are on hand to help companies maximise their chances of success.

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