London contract successes

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More than 16,000 London, UK businesses have signed up to an 'online dating agency' for London 2012 and local government contracts – a year after the service was introduced.

'CompeteFor' now carries 1, 700 contract opportunities. More than 45% of contracts awarded so far have gone to London–based companies, with many more opportunities coming online now the service is established. In addition, London businesses have benefited from around £3. 5bn worth of work which has been awarded directly by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), with 55% of the 860 companies to have won contracts coming from the capital. CompeteFor, which was designed by the London Development Agency (LDA) working closely with the London Business Network and London 2012, allows companies to register as potential 2012 suppliers online. CompeteFor then notifies them of contracts as they are put out to tender and they are able to apply quickly and easily. The mayor of London's Economic Recovery Action Plan has extended its use across the GLA group to support London's businesses in the current economic climate. LDA contracts alone are worth around £170m a year, while the agency is also promoting the service's use to London boroughs. Geoff Newton, LDA director of Olympic opportunity, said: " CompeteFor has proved to be a unique tool in allowing smaller businesses to access Olympic contracts. The CompeteFor model can also be used by other public and private sector organisations. We hope others will sign up to the system and in turn give London's small and medium sized enterprises a unique platform to find out about and bid for contracts. " The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: " I am hugely impressed with the success of CompeteFor in helping London businesses scoop London 2012 and GLA contracts. In the current economic climate it is vital that we get as many businesses as possible signed up, to ensure that no London firm is excluded from the tender process. That is why we are providing the scheme with a further £1. 8m so that more businesses can register and bid for suitable work as it is contracted out across the GLA Group. " Some 92% of London businesses now registered with CompeteFor are small or medium sized firms. Over 86% of contracts already awarded to London businesses through CompeteFor have gone to small or medium sized firms. The London Business Network has promoted the system to companies across the capital through a series of events, raising awareness and encouraging them to sign up. Mike Mulvey, chief executive of London Business Network, added: "The success of London businesses in winning contracts through CompeteFor, in addition to the 16, 000 businesses already registered in the capital, is testament to the websites success in only 12 months of operation. The 'single registration for numerous opportunities' model will make it practical for SMEs to bid for contracts during these times of financial uncertainty. "Case Study – Welcome GateWelcome Gate specialises in electronic access and surveillance systems for commercial sites and is focused on providing leading standards of client care. The Southwark, London–based business has grown to the extent that it now employs six people, with further new jobs expected to be created in 2009. Part of this growth results from a major contract won though CompeteFor in November 2008 to supply visitor management and vehicle pass systems, equipped with electronic photo ID, for the Olympic park development site in the run up to the 2012 Games. Jason Choy, 33, managing director of Welcome Gate, said: " The LDA and CompeteFor have enabled small businesses like ours to access Olympic opportunities that we might not otherwise have considered. This has opened up a whole new avenue of work for small businesses, which of great value as we work through the economic downturn. I would recommend CompeteFor as one way for small businesses to act to beat the credit crunch. Plus there's the chance to be part of the Olympics. Signing up was straightforward, and soon after I started receiving regular e–mail bulletins informing me of contracts available. One seeking tenders for security technology was relevant to our business, so I decided to apply online. We secured the contract to supply the visitor and vehicle passes for the Olympic park site within just a few weeks, and we are now managing that contract through until the Games in 2012. This has been a significant win for Welcome Gate and an exciting opportunity for those in our company to be involved in the Olympics project. "The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and London Organising Committee (LOCOG) expect to allocate over £6bn of work through direct contractors and their supply chains. Around 75, 000 contracts will be procured through the London 2012 supply chain and related work between now and 2012. Any business or organisation that issues contracts can use CompeteFor and enjoy the increased competition that the system provides. The CompeteFor service also provides access to a wide range of business support services provided by Business Link in London.

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