Cashing in on the Games
Freelancers and other small businesses have so far enjoyed only a tiny share of the economic benefit of the London 2012 Olympic Games, new research suggests, prompting calls for many to take a more proactive approach.
BDRC Continental, the market research firm, said just 4 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – and thus an even smaller percentage of freelancers – had won contracts to supply goods and services to the Games.
And while many SMEs are not as hostile to the Games as might be expected – around 80 per cent expect the Olympics to be neither good or bad for business, BDRC’s research suggests – there is concern about disruption during the event itself.
BDRC’s James Dunleavy said that freelancers and SMEs needed to balance anxieties about the Olympics, as many are already doing. “There’s been much publicity around the anticipated negative impact of the Games to Britain’s businesses, particularly those in the capital, he said. “However our research shows SMEs are more circumspect – anticipating positive outcomes to their business as well as recognising the possible challenges ahead.”
The BDRC research is broadly in line with the findings of a poll conducted by PCG, in which 68 per cent of freelancers said the Olympics had had no discernible impact on levels of new business. Roughly equal numbers – 12 per cent and 13 per cent respectively – said they had seen new business rise or fall.
What many businesses do not appear to appreciate, however, is that work is still available from the Olympics organisers – both small and large projects alike. The CompeteFor online procurement portal continues to list jobs and contracts worth tens of millions of pound – particularly for work that will take place after the Games such as the transformation of the Olympic Park for new uses.
By David Prosser, Editor of Freelancing Matters magazine