Britain rides on Olympic success to boost local investment and businesses

Mr. Tony Sims - British Business Embassy
Mr. Tony Sims – British Business Embassy

The 2012 Olympic Games in Britain ended on August 12, 2012, but the British government is using the resounding success of the Games to promote investments and boost business for companies in the UK.

The lead institution in this ride of success is the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

And to further enhance the opportunities for business, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has invited nine journalists from around the world to London, to help share the stories further afield. The journalists are from Hungary, Vietnam, Morocco, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Cuba and Ghana on an “Olympic Legacy Media Visit” starting June 5 to 7, 2013.

“We want to provide services to other countries when they are organizing big events, using our success with the Olympics as an example,” said, Mr. Tony Sims, the man who headed the British Business Embassy during the Olympics.

A presentation showed that Britain achieved its target of raking in over £2.3 billion from tourism.

It also showed that 2000 companies were involved in the Olympics.

Mr. Sims told the journalists that Britain used the Olympics to aim at generating business and investments, “6,700 contracts and consultancies were generated,” he said.

Britain also used the Olympics and continues to use its success to increase foreign direct investments, according to Mr. Sims.

The country used the Olympic to transform East London, improve transport and road infrastructure as well as housing.

“The Olympic Village is being redeveloped for private housing,” he said. The country is integrating the Games facilities into communities, he added.

He indicated to the journalists that the companies that took part in the bid, construction of the Games facilities, and provided services for the Games are for the first time in the history of the Olympics, being given licences, approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an endorsement of their ability and success as businesses. They are allowed to state that they have been part of the Olympic success, but they are not allowed to use the Olympic logo, however, he said.

Speaking later to the journalists, Mr. Jeff Burke of ES Global, a service provider that provided temporary sports infrastructure for the Games, said they built temporary facilities for the beach volleyball, water polo and some signage. “All these have been removed and stored in our warehouses, ready to be used elsewhere,” he said.

He said the temporary facilities were designed from the beginning to be built, used and removed after the games.

Citing examples of huge sporting facilities that have been left to rot away in some parts of the world, he said some of the facilities for the London Olympics were specifically built to be used and removed after the games to address the issue of leaving games venues to rot because there are no uses for them.

Britain is still high on the euphoria of the success of the Games, but the country is not just enjoying the excitement that the Games success has brought to it, it is using that to generate business, investment and its communities. It is also waiting to help other countries, like Brazil and Qatar with its expertise in maximizing an Olympic opportunity.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, in London, UK

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