How were small local businesses affected by the London 2012 Games in their area?

2 years ago (5:48 PM)
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Talk London

Hi michaelbduignan,

Thanks for starting up such an interesting discussion.

Not long after the Games, in December 2012, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) surveyed 200 businesses across London to get a better understanding of the likely legacy for micro and small businesses. They found that 41% of those businesses felt that there was a negative impact on the performance of their business during the Games compared to 16% who thought that there was a positive impact (although 69% thought that the Games were good for London overall).

However they also found that more than one in ten (12%) of the businesses that responded to the survey said that they had worked on an official Olympic or Paralympic Games contract. Small businesses within the manufacturing and professional services sectors won more of such contracts. Also, a fifth (20%) of businesses obtained further work as a result of the contract. One half (50%) of companies felt that their reputation had been boosted by this. Almost a third (32%) saw the market position of their business improve and 28% have seen a higher level of skills within their business.

This is some of what post-Games evaluations found on local impacts, but it'd be great to hear local stories about the situation now.

Does anyone have a story on the impact in their local area?

Talk London Community Manager


Thanks for submitting this Wendy.

This passing the baton report was a good read, alongside Sir John Armitt's document - 'London 2012 – a global showcase for UK plc ( The London Chamber of Commerce 'The Final Hurdle - securing a business legacy' is also an interesting read for those interested.

Interestingly though, I can't find much published works on local businesses of Olympic boroughs. Most of the data is from a more national perspective.

As I mentioned before, from my research so far some of the perspectives is that conducting business as usual was pretty tough, especially in the host 'event zones'.

Are there any interesting stories out there from some of the Olympic borough businesses? It'd be great to hear them.

London Legacy D...

Hi Michael.

We are the body responsible for delivering the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in east London – we just wanted to flag up that we continue to work with SMEs through the Fit or Legacy project, which you might find of interest.

About workshop space.
I went on a walking tour of the Olympic site when nearly complete. The tour guide pointed-out derelict-looking factory space of the sort demolished. I tried tracing owners or ringing the numbers on "to let" signs. I discovered that nothing was to let under £1,000 a month, even if it had a hole in the roof and planning blight. Other buildings just looked run-down because it wasn't in the tenent's interest to make them look smart.

About economic reports of success.
I don't know about Olympic reports, but have read a simlar report commissioned from Oxford Economics by British Fashion Council, called "The Value of Fashion". It is obfuscation. The headlines are untrue. I could happily go through paragraph by paragraph to say why, and how the dodgy facts are hiddden in small print a the end. So I'd like to see a different way of commissioning reports of success.

Talk London


This has taken a little while, but I've obtained some information for you from the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) as a response to your comments regarding workshop space in Hackney Wick.

The LLDC says that it has recently worked with Richard Brown to undertake a survey entitled ‘Creative Factories’ which looks at affordable work space and the self build live-work movement in the area. Richard Brown is a trainee architect who lives and works in Hackney Wick and Fish Island.

Richard’s work highlights that average rents (per square foot per year) have in fact largely stayed the same in the area over the last five years, at £12-15/sqft, with some at below £10/sqft for workspace and industrial space. Moreover, individuals and small businesses that have moved in recent years have been able to ingeniously pool their finances, skills and material resources and take on large scale former industrial units collectively. A link to Richard’s website is:

LLDC are working closely with the surrounding boroughs to support SMEs and secure benefits from development that perhaps would not be delivered in more piecemeal, purely market-led interventions - including low-cost workspace. The LLDC has prepared its Draft Local Plan, which explicitly ‘supports the provision of employment floorspace which can accommodate the types of businesses currently drawn to the area, in particular the creative, productive and cultural industries’. The Draft Local Plan, subject to the outcome of its Examination, is due to be adopted in spring 2015. We also support this through development initiatives - for example, the former Press and Broadcast Centre is now becoming Here East, a campus and business space which will work with creative businesses of all sizes.

LLDC’s Planning Policy and Decisions Team works with developers to retain and secure new low-cost workspace through Section 106 legal agreements as part of the planning process. Moreover, the LLDC actively commissions one-off capital projects such as The White Building - a retrofit of a derelict print works in Hackney Wick into a new cultural venue which includes affordable studio space for artists, event spaces for community use and a cafe with canalside seating next to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. SPACE, an arts and education charity, with support from Bloomberg, run and manage The White Building, with ongoing support from the Legacy Corporation.

LLDC’s advocacy for affordable workspace also extends to supporting the Mayor of London and GLA Culture and Regeneration Team’s work  across the capital to champion the need for low threshold enterprise space, including playing an active role in the emerging ‘Open Workspace Network’ for London.

As previously mentioned by my colleague, LLDC also plays a key role in supporting SMEs through other means such as the ‘Fit for Legacy’ project, which helps businesses improve their ability to win public sector contracts, both on the Park and more widely. It is led by Newham College and involves the boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich. Find out more.

Hope this is helpful information,

Talk London Community Manager