A new rallying call went out yesterday to encourage West Midlands businesses to make the most of the London 2012 Olympics.

Peter Turvey, opportunities co-ordinator for the region, urged firms to get geared up.

His call came as Paul Deighton, chief executive of the London Organising Committee of the Games, paid a visit to Birmingham.

In particular, Mr Turvey wants to see companies take advantage of CompeteFor, a socalled business "dating agency" that will act as a brokerage service between firms already in the supply chain for London 2012 and potential suppliers.

"Now really is the time for companies to explore what the Olympic Games could do for them," insisted Mr Turvey.

CompeteFor has been launched to help companies across the UK compete for thousands of business opportunities, and is designed to make the tendering process more realistic for SMEs. It will also put larger firms in touch with the small and medium suppliers they will need to deliver on Olympic-based projects.

Mr Turvey said: "Delivering the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in 2012 is a huge logistical operation, and will require goods and services from across the whole of the UK. Businesses across the country can and will win contracts, and West Midlands businesses are clearly well-placed both geographically and economically to make a big impact.

"British business overall has a huge amount to gain from the Games and it's key for businesses to explore opportunities now to ensure they'll be ready to tender at the right time.

"However I recognise that many SME's may feel it is too big a mountain to climb to win an Olympic contract. My job is to help local companies break down these barriers and give businesses a realistic opportunity to submit a competitive tender and make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity."

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and London Organising Committee (Locog) say they expect to allocate over £6 billion of work as part of an estimated 75,000 future business opportunities.

Mr Deighton was at Villa Park yesterday, also pushing CompeteFor.

He was accompanied by former Commonwealth Games Champion and Coventry-born athlete, David Moorcroft, and Coun Chris Saint, chairman of the West Midlands Leadership Group for 2012, the body responsible for ensuring that the West Midlands maximises its opportunities.

He also visited the University of Warwick to view sports facilities and meet with the Coventry and Warwickshire 2012 Partnership.

Mr Deighton said: "London 2012 is already providing a unique opportunity for businesses across the West Midlands to raise their profile and reputation on a global stage.

"The number of big sporting events coming to the UK, as a result of winning the right to host the 2012 Games could make this a 'golden decade' for major events in the UK and, therefore, for UK businesses.

"The London 2012 Business Network and CompeteFor will help companies make the most of the opportunities ahead by ensuring that they are aware of, can prepare for and compete for, the business that staging the London 2012 Games is bringing."

Richard Hyde, Advantage West Midlands deputy chairman, said: "The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are now starting to offer a new and unprecedented opportunity to West Midlands firms, to supply the event with goods and services.

"As well as the direct contracts from London 2012, there are other, 2012-related projects which will offer billions of pounds of contracts, over and above the costs of building for, and operating, the 2012 Games.

"These include contracts from the five 2012 'host' boroughs in London, transport improvements in London and South-east, and the £5 billion Stratford Village project."