Up to 18,000 have signed up to CompeteFor service matching contractors to contracts for London 2012 work

The CompeteFor service allowing contractors and other suppliers to bid for work related to the 2012 London Olympics already has 18,000 firms signed up.

CompeteFor, which was launched in January, operates as a kind of dating agency between buyers throughout the 2012 supply chain and providers of all relevant types of service, in particular in construction.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and the London Organising Committee expect to allocate more than £6bn of work in future contracts.

Much of this work is expected to go to smaller firms. Nine out of ten of those registered with CompeteFor are small or medium-sized firms, and more than 70% of the 650 companies that have already won £2bn of work supplying the ODA are also smaller firms.

Companies based outside the capital city make up two-thirds of those signed up to CompeteFor, which is co-funded by regional development agencies.