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Olympics contracts 'dating agency' sees 18,000 sign up

As many as 18,000 companies have signed up to a business 'dating agency' aimed at matching them to contracts linked with the London 2012 Olympics, it was announced today.

Up to a fifth of London 2012 supply chain opportunities are expected to go through the business "dating agency", known as the CompeteFor system, which is co-funded by regional development agencies.

Nearly 90 per cent of the firms signed up are small or medium-sized, 67 per cent are based outside of London and 78 per cent have less than 50 employees, according to the London 2012 business engagement figures.

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

More than 70 per cent of the 650 companies that have already won over £2 billion worth of work supplying the ODA are smaller companies.

Around 98 per cent are UK based and 12 per cent are from the Olympic Park host boroughs in east London.

ODA chairman John Armitt said: "These figures show that smaller businesses are making the running and getting the biggest benefit so far, as well as getting themselves in pole position to compete for future work in the supply chains of our major contractors.

"It is a challenging project and we're working with the best of British business to keep well on track to deliver a great Olympic and Paralympic Games and a lasting legacy."

Locog chief executive Paul Deighton said he was "impressed" with the UK business response to the London 2012 Business Network since its launch in January this year. It is aimed at helping companies make the most of the opportunities ahead.

He said: "With the organising committee's procurement for Games-time goods and services starting in earnest in 2009 there is all to play for.

"We are encouraged to see so many UK businesses have registered on the CompeteFor system to get well placed to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity."