Firms urged to target Olympic contracts

BUSINESSES must be pro-active in pursuing contracts for the 2012 London Olympics, one of the masterminds behind the games told an event in Suffolk.Speaking at London Olympics sponsors BT's Ipswich headquarters yesterday , Sir Keith Mills, deputy chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said East Anglian firms need to grab the opportunities they present.

BUSINESSES must be pro-active in pursuing contracts for the 2012 London Olympics, one of the masterminds behind the games told an event in Suffolk.

Speaking at London Olympics sponsors BT's Ipswich headquarters yesterday , Sir Keith Mills, deputy chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said East Anglian firms need to grab the opportunities they present.

“More important than anything else is for businesses to be pro-active. We are not going to come knocking on your door. You need to come to us,” he said.

There were going to be about 75,000 contracts, large and small, of which less than a third have already been awarded, and many contract winners would be looking for sub-contractors, he pointed out.


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A total of 54 firms in the East of England have so far been awarded contracts.

He told local business and council leaders at the event at Adastral Park that £6 to7billion would be spent on the Games, three quarters of which would be on permanent facilities.

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“We are very hopeful that a good number of the visiting teams will end up in this part of the world,” he added.

Brentwood-born Sir Keith left school at 15 and went on to become a serial entrepreneur, creating around 20 businesses. He is the man behind Air Miles and Nectar loyalty cards, and sold his main business in December last year.

He became involved in the Olympics, partly because he “genuinely believed that the games could act as a catalyst to change things for the better” in this country and also, he joked, because as a competitive man “the thought of thrashing the French was irresistible”.

Sir Keith has a local connection, he revealed. His younger brother, Malcolm Mills, lives in East Bergholt and runs an interior architectural design business locally.

Past games had failed to make enough of the opportunity for the longer-term legacy of the event and potential benefits around the country, a mistake they were determined not to make with these games, he said.

“Whether these are business, sporting or cultural benefits, there are huge benefits to be had,” he said.

“There's something happening in our country that happens once in a generation.”

Paul Excell, chief operating officer for innovation at BT, a communications sponsor of the Games, said: “The idea is obviously for businesses in the East of England to see the massive opportunities that are coming up as part of the London 2012 Games.”

nSir Keith visited the Royal Hospital School at Holbrook in Ipswich to see a disability sport training session and hear about Suffolk Disability Sports Academy during his visit to Suffolk yesterday. He also visited Heath Primary School in Kesgrave during his trip, and presented a £500 SportsAid grant to 16-year-old Ipswich athlete Shaun Webb.

“Having been born and brought up in the region, it gives me great pleasure to be in Suffolk seeing how the county's preparations for realising the sporting, business and education opportunities of the 2012 Games are shaping up,” he said.

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