London 2012: Black businesses ‘frozen out of Olympic contracts’
Black and ethnic minority-owned companies were not given a fair chance when Olympic Games contracts were awarded, say business leaders.
Just six per cent of contracts awarded by Games organisers went to non-white businesspeople, according to members of the Fair Enterprise and Trade programme (FEAT).
According to the last Census, two-thirds of Newham’s population is non-white.
Organisers Locog have now come under fire from those who feel frozen out from the event, despite it taking place on their doorstep.
Emmanuel Grillo, from Stratford catering firm Jolloff Pot, said it was important to have Newham businesses fully involved.
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He said: “Around the time we won the bid and there was talk of opportunities for local businesses to take part, we tried every avenue we could to get involved.
“I just think it was the easy option for the organisers to give the contracts to a conglomerate.
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“The Olympics are on our doorstep, they should represent the diversity of our borough.”
Jolloff Pot, based in Henley Road, specialises in Ghanaian food for high profile events and parties.
Mr Grillo added: “Being awarded a contract would have made a huge difference to us financially.”
More than 2,500 members of FEAT have signed a petition to show their frustration at missing out on Olympic contracts.
Em Ekong, who ran FEAT and is now organising the African and Caribbean Business Expo, taking place in August said some now feel left out as a result.
She said: “They were told that the Olympics would bring business opportunities to their doorstep, instead they jumped through all the right hoops to no avail.
“We know that the Olympics will bring a multi-billion pound boost to our economy, and the London 2012 bid was won by highlighting the city’s ethnic diversity.”
A LOCOG spokesman said they gave as many companies as possible the opportunity to bid for contracts.
“We are nearing the end of our procurement programme but our commitment to diversity and inclusion should not be questioned,” he said.
“We achieved the Gold Standard from Diversity Works for London – the first company to do so.
He added: “We have engaged with many different sectors, communities and businesses over the last seven years to inform them of our processes and opportunities.”