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The Olympic playing field is not level, say SMEs

Small and medium-sized hvac enterprises are sceptical about generating business from the 2012 games, despite the Olympic Development Authority heralding the Olympics as a ‘unique opportunity’ for companies of all sizes, new research shows.

According to a survey by independent business think tank Tenon Forum, almost 75 per cent of SME bosses across all business sectors, including hvac, are convinced the London Games will have no impact on their order books.

And a sizable 15 per cent of the 1,010 respondents interviewed are even predicting a negative effect. Only one in 10 thinks the Olympics will boost their businesses, reports the Tenon Forum.

Many businesses outside the capital fear large London-based firms are securing the cream of contracts, according to Michaela Johns, Tenon director of business services.

“It seems that UK SMEs feel they are losing out to big businesses, with nearly three quarters of entrepreneurs stating the world’s highest-profile sporting event will only benefit large corporations with lucrative sponsorship deals,” said Ms Johns.

“Entrepreneurial businesses outside the host city believe any impact will be solely London-centric, with two thirds of Northern entrepreneurs thinking that only London-based businesses will benefit from the Games,” she added.

The Olympic Development Agency took strong issue with Tenon’s findings. The ODA insists that the vast majority of Olympic business contracts have gone to SMEs from across the UK.

“This just does not reflect the fact that over 70 per cent of business contracts have been awarded to small businesses,” said an ODA spokesman.

“This is an unprecedented level playing field. We have set up a website to encourage businesses to get involved and over 90 per cent of companies visiting the site are SMEs.

“We have also travelled the country, explaining how small businesses can apply for job contracts.”