Chichester firms told to cash in on Olympics

Chichester businesses have been told it is not too late to cash in on the Olympics.

Business leaders have said all is not lost if companies have failed to win contracts so far, stating the next 12 months is the most important for smaller firms to get in on the act for providing anything from catering services to equipment hire.

Chichester can also make the most of its tourism services, as it is also expected to be a top destination for Olympic holidaymakers.

Iain Shepherd, chairman of the international committee at the Chichester Chamber of Commerce, said the city still had lots to offer despite most of the bigger contracts being awarded to London firms.

“At the moment most of the contracts have been relatively big contracts and we are just re-entering the phase where there are a lot of smaller contracts on offer,” he said.

A small number of businesses in the area have failed in their attempts to win Olympic-related contracts through the tender website www.competefor.com but Mr Shepherd said there could be more opportunities through bigger firms sub-contracting out the work.

“I don’t think it’s too late to get involved, there will be an awful lot of contracts let between now and the Olympics, there’s still a great opportunity.”

Chartered accountant Charles Homan, who works for Tax Audit and Accounts Solutions in the Chichester area, was involved in a £1m letting deal for a client involved in the Olympics.

“Companies need to keep going,” he said. “There will be a huge demand for lots of equipment and services during such a short period of time and if you can adapt your business model without destabilising your core business, you have an opportunity to make the most of it.”

Karen Griffin, who runs Griffin Designs which makes banners, was working with West Sussex County Council in their promotion of various Olympic initiatives, but her work dried up when government cutbacks were made.

“If Chichester is hosting foreign groups to warm up and prepare, then they will use a local person,” she said.

“People in the know have done a lot, but it’s not been widely publicised.”