This just in – from The Daily Mail a couple of days ago actually. A nice piece with Lance Forman about opportunities – or lack of – for small businesses and banging the drum for the legacy.
About £50million of contracts for the London Olympics are still up for grabs and small firms are being urged to act quickly.
One that didn't get away: Lance Forman is expanding his fish smoking business on the back of the Olympics
Nearly 70 per cent of suppliers to the Games are small and medium-sized businesses, with more than 250 such firms having been awarded contracts. Two-thirds of those companies are based outside London.
The Olympic Delivery Authority, which is responsible for the infrastructure of the Games, has some 1,500 suppliers, most of which are small businesses.
Chris Daniels, head of London 2012 activation for Lloyds TSB, a ‘tier one’ sponsor of the Games, says that areas where there are still contracts to be won include banner signage, security and hospitality.
He says: ‘There are still many contracts in cottage industries, for example, creative areas such as costumes and flowers.’ Details of available contracts can be viewed on competefor.com, a website set up in association with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Lance Forman runs family business Forman’s Smokehouse in Stratford, east London. The firm, which was set up in 1905, claims to be the oldest producer of smoked salmon in Britain and supplies luxury foods to the House of Lords, the Savoy hotel and department store Fortnum & Mason.
The business was forced to relocate from its original premises on the Stratford site of the Games after London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics.
However, Lance, 49, has more than made the most of the opportunities offered as a result. Not only are the new premises the nearest building to the Olympic stadium, but Lance has launched three new businesses, including a hospitality venue that will play host to major Olympic-related events including the Olympics after-party.
He has also opened a restaurant by the site and an art gallery which shows the works of local artists. The company employs 85 staff, but Lance expects to take on hundreds more during the Games.
He says: ‘This is a chance for us to boost business, but also to showcase what we do, in particular how good British food can be. What is most important is ensuring that the boost given by the Olympics is sustained after the event is over.’
Steve Wheeler, local business director for small and medium-sized firms at BT, a partner to the Games, says: ‘Businesses need to prepare thoroughly for the Games – leaving it to the last minute will not work.
‘Our research shows that 74 per cent of small firms expect disruption during the Olympics, yet only a quarter are taking steps to address it.’