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July 30, 2010

Small firms missing out on Olympic contracts, says Lloyds

Many small firms have not realised the potential commercial benefits of the 2012 Olympics, even though £700 million of contract opportunities are still available, Lloyds has said.

A survey of 2,000 businesses by the banking group has highlighted that – with just two years to go – only 51 per cent of firms with fewer than 50 employees expect the Games to boost the UK’s economic recovery, compared with 70 per cent of bigger organisations.

According to Chris Daniels, head of Lloyds Banking Group London 2012’s business team, many small firms have failed to realise the potential commercial benefits of 2012. “While many larger contracts have already been secured, thousands of opportunities are now opening up in the wider supply chain,” he said.

“Put simply, businesses that are already involved are now scouting for other businesses to help them,” added Daniels. “These contracts are truly wide open to businesses anywhere in the country, no matter what their sector.”

To grasp opportunities, businesses need to network within their own industry, as well as sign up for CompeteFor, a free online service that matches suppliers with Olympic contracts, Daniels said.

However, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said there were “still concerns” that small firms were not getting access to contract opportunities, even further down the supply chain.

“It appears that small firms are getting to the pitch stage, but when it comes to securing the work, they’re getting blanked in favour of larger organisations,” said FSB spokesman, Stephen Alambritis.

“It’s simply up to goodwill on the part of big contractors whether they pass opportunities down the supply chain or not,” he added. “There’s lots of talk about how small firms are benefiting, but we would like to see a clear commitment by the organising bodies to smaller businesses.”

According to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) records, more than 120,000 firms have already signed up to the CompeteFor service since it was established. Around 1,050 suppliers have won contracts worth a total of –5 billion since January 2008, with small firms winning 68 per cent of the contracts advertised by the ODA.