Firms urged to get stuck in to the Olympic Games

AROUND 40% of all the 2012 Olympic Games business opportunities are still to be advertised and North East companies are being urged to grab their share.

AROUND 40% of all the 2012 Olympic Games business opportunities are still to be advertised and North East companies are being urged to grab their share.

It’s estimated that North East companies have already won around £50m in business, mainly associated with building the Olympic Park in London, but there is still plenty of work to come, both in the capital and in the region.

Work in the supply chain, providing everything from food to transport to barriers at peripheral events being staged in the North East, is yet to be advertised.

Information about the type of opportunities available and how to bid for them was included in a series of seminars during the first day of the two-day Business Exchange North East event at the Sage in Gateshead yesterday.

Laurie Neville, procurement programme manager at Locog – the organising committee for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games – said businesses from around the UK are benefiting from London 2012 contracts.

“More than 50% of contracts for the Games have been awarded outside of London and the South East,” he said.

“Around two-third of the [winning] companies are SMEs. We are proving we’re spreading contracts regionally and size-wise. We have very fair and transparent procurement practices; everyone genuinely has the chance to win.

“Some of the regional contracts will be better for the regional suppliers but also some of the contracts in London can be performed by organisations across the UK.

“It’s a great chance for suppliers to show what they can do. It’s very motivating for staff to be involved.”

All of the Olympic-related contracts are advertised on the website, for which businesses must register before they can tender.

Firms can receive assistance in bidding for work from procurement support service Compete North East, which was set up in 2009 to give regional firms a greater chance of winning public contracts.

Paul Taylor, head of business engagement at Compete North East, spoke to yesterday’s event and stressed that there were still plenty of lucrative regional opportunities available.

He said: “It’s not London-centric. There are opportunities in the North East – they are talking about around £2m of opportunities in the region and as things advance, sponsors will be holding events with quite a lot of local action.”

He pointed to events such as the earlier stages of the Olympic football competition, which will be played at stadia around the country including St James’ Park, and the Olympic torch relay which will be held in May next year.

“There will be lots of local, peripheral small locally-sourced opportunities,” said Mr Taylor.

“They’ll be looking for people to fill in the spaces in the football competition, the 10-minute break; three coach companies have won contracts to transport people from the region to the Games.

“For those companies, they are significant contracts.”

But you have to be in it to win it - and there are a huge number of businesses which have not signed up for the free-to-register Competefor website, which sends out weekly emails containing the latest Olympics adverts.

Mr Taylor said: “There are 2,000 companies in the region on Competefor from 55,000 companies, so there is a lot of mileage for companies to register.

“Compete North East can give people assistance, we can advise them, go out and see them and talk to them but we can’t put the bids in for them.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer