Hundreds of business people from across the South West attended the launch of the week-long British Business Pavilion Olympic legacy event at Weymouth College yesterday (Monday 6 August).
The British Business Pavilion is the largest business networking event outside London during the 2012 Games and reflects the British Business Embassy events at Lancaster House in London. The event is dedicated to showcasing the South West as a thriving business community and encouraging businesses to explore overseas trade opportunities.
Delivering the opening address on the first day, Nick Baird, Chief Executive of UK Trade and Investment, said:
“At a time when domestic demand is constrained, we have to further improve on the international platform to get growth back into the economy. With the Olympics, there is real interest in businesses here at the moment and we have to take advantage of that.
“The South West is very strong in creative industries, food and drink and the defence sectors and these are industries where there is massive demand globally for the services they provide.
“I strongly believe that virtually every business with a product that is competitive within this economy can be selling internationally. We have to see the Olympics as a platform on which to build in the years to come.”
Each day of the British Business Pavilion will focus on a different market sector, where delegates will have the opportunity to gain insight into just some of the many commercial successes of South West businesses and the level of expertise held within the region. The sectors include: Creative Industries; Marine and Tidal Renewable Energy; Urban Environment and Infrastructure; Retail, Food and Drink; Advanced Engineering.
The mornings include presentations from key players and panel discussions with delegates on key issues in their sector. Participants from the region include AgustaWestland, RNLI, The Met Office, Clarks, Regen South West, Clipper Teas, Dorset Cereals, New Look and Bright Blue Day.
Officially launched at the event yesterday was the British Business Club – an online network, created by UK Trade & Investment and other partner organisations* – which enables companies to connect with business partners across the world and showcase their expertise online. The club offers the opportunity to arrange one-to-one meetings, find the important business events across the UK and promote their business capability and skills.
Sir John Armitt, Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority and President of the British Business Club, opened the afternoon activity on Monday. He added:
“This is a golden moment for the UK and the South West, not just for sport, but also for business. In fact, 14 percent of SMEs who supplied the Olympic park as first tier contractors were from the South West.
“Australia continues to win business off the back of the Games they hosted in 2000 and we hope to better this in the UK. The British Business Club has therefore been created to help businesses make the most of business networking around the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and other major sports events now and in the future.”
The five day event has been organised by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) South West, in partnership with Dorset Chamber of Commerce, Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. It also features video feeds from Lancaster House and provides opportunities for one-to-one meetings. The afternoons offer business networking and showcase exhibitions to coincide with the sailing races.
For more information on UKTI South West, visit www.ukti.gov.uk
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UK Trade and Investment regional director, Russell Jones, said:
“The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games represent the greatest business networking event in the global calendar, where companies from across the globe will meet, interact and do business.
“The British Business Pavilion in Weymouth is a programme of events designed to engage the business community in the South West and encourage our businesses to explore overseas trade opportunities. It is also an unrivalled opportunity to showcase our thriving region to potential inward investors.
“There is a wealth of expertise in the region, in addition to the number of successful domestic and global businesses based here. Many of these organisations are attending to take part in the discussions.”
Sir Alan Collins, managing director of Olympic Legacy, UK Trade & Investment, said:
“The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase all that is great about Britain and British businesses to the world.
“This event will not only demonstrate what a lucrative place the South West is in terms of business opportunities and successes, but will also help create a lasting legacy for the region.”
Notes to editors
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world.
We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit www.ukti.gov.uk or telephone +44 (0)207 215 8000. For latest press releases, visit the online newsroom at www.ukti.gov.uk/media
About the British Business Embassy
The British Business Embassy, held at Lancaster House in London, will be the centrepiece of UK Trade & Investment’s international business programme during the London 2012 Games. Sponsors, corporates, bid and host cities will all come to meet, influence and do business. For further information, visit www.ukti.gov.uk/
About the British Business Club
The British Business Club is a valuable resource available to help members make the most of business networking and activity around the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and other major sports events now and in the future. It is a free online resource providing up-to-date details of networking events, business activity, news and potential partners, boosting the opportunities for UK companies to make beneficial international business connections.
Members are able to showcase their business capability, expertise and know-how by creating an online profile, allowing them to build their networks and connect with business partners worldwide, increasing their opportunity to meet and engage with potential business partners during the exciting atmosphere of a major sports event itself.
Members are also able to promote relevant business events as well as benefit from exclusive offers, including London hotel discounts.
*The British Business Club is a partnership between UK Trade & Investment, London & Partners, the London Business Network and BIS, on behalf of the UK-wide London 2012 Business network.