Olympic StadiumThe 2012 Olympics in London may be three years away, but the Brooklyn International Trade Development Center (www.brooklynexport.com) at Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn, N.Y., already is working to get New York-area companies to take advantage of the numerous related contract opportunities.

Delivering what’s officially called the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games is a massive logistical operation that will require the procurement of goods, works and services from a wide range of firms. BITDC launched its London 2012 Initiative in 2007 to create awareness among New York-area companies about these contract opportunities. The agency also held a seminar on the subject prior to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Executive Director Ruth J. Morrison says future efforts include conference calls linking businessowners with U.S.

Commercial Service officials in London to provide the businessowners with information on how and where to follow up on contract opportunities; periodic e-blasts to companies; and possibly a trade mission to London to meet U.S. commercial officials and U.K. counterparts.  “I wanted to do — and it still could happen — a series of meetings around the country to talk about the opportunities. That’s one of the projects we will need a sponsor for because we weren’t funded to go around the country talking about opportunities,” she says.

Think London, the foreign direct investment agency for London, says it expects to have about 7,000 direct contracts that, together with its suppliers, will form supply chains of some 75,000 opportunities ranging from construction, engineering and manufacturing to creative, merchandising and retail.

London 2012 will directly buy and manage a small number of contracts with tier-one suppliers or contractors, with most of the opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises likely coming from further down the supply chains. With the United States already accounting for 50 percent of annual investment into London, U.S. companies are in a favorable position to win contracts. Think London has an office in lower Manhattan, New York City.

BITDC was created in 2006 to assist small businesses that are new to exporting or that would like to expand their export markets. The center works with the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration to connect U.S. companies with international buyers worldwide. The Commercial Service has offices in 75 countries.

In April 2008, the center formed a partnership with the U.S. Export-Import Bank of the United States to help companies in the greater New York City area get the financing they need to compete in global markets. The agreement enables the center to offer small businesses a greater array of trade financing, including short-term, export-credit insurance; loan guarantees to increase export-related working capital; and medium-term financing for foreign buyers. “Our number one goal is to help our companies export to foreign countries by offering them one-on-one technical assistance,” Morrison said at the time. Ex-Im Bank can help us widen our reach.”