Ten London Thames Gateway Boroughs, the London Development Agency (LDA) and the Canary Wharf Group launched the East London Business Place initiative last night at an event at Canary Wharf.

The public-private initiative aims to help provide small to medium businesses with the chance to win contracts with major developers as well as Olympic and LDA contracts.

It provides a service to match local suppliers with buyers and developers and allow smaller business the opportunity to pitch for contracts. It also provides training and networking events opportunities.

The East London Business Place was developed from an already established private sector network – the Local Business Liaison Office – set up by the Canary Wharf Group which has already secured £532m of contracts for local businesses since 1997.

George Iacobescu, chief executive at Canary Wharf Group, said: ‘For a number of years Canary Wharf Group has promoted the wider economic and social regeneration of East London. We are delighted that a scheme that we successfully pioneered in the local area is now being rolled-out across the Thames Gateway.

'The local economy will be stronger because of East London Business Place and it makes good business sense for other major buyers to get behind the initiative.’