By John Fox-Clinch
With exactly a year to go before the start of the 2012 Olympics, nearly a quarter of businesses in the South West believe they will benefit from the London Games, according to a new study.
But the Business Barometer commissioned by Close Invoice Finance, throws into doubt the ability of the games to boost productivity to the extent originally imagined by the event planners.
Rob Harris, Close’s regional head, said: “It was understood that the Olympic Games would offer the potential for £6.5bn worth of work and that businesses beyond London would be in a position to take advantage of the event but this research seems to be saying otherwise.”
The research shows a definite North-South divide in attitude with 30% in the South of England expecting a positive impact to business compared with only 16% in the North of England and 19% in the Midlands
In the South West, 23% of businesses expect to benefit – but given the region’s location close to London and the fact that it is hosting sailing events at Weymouth, should that business boost be higher?
Mr Harris said: “Perhaps the complex tendering process is proving a hindrance or it could be that larger companies are dominating, particularly when it comes to the big construction contracts.”
He adds, however, that it’s not too late to secure extra business.
“There should be many ways to benefit from the Olympic Games. To stage an event on this scale, a wide range of products, services and resources are required.
“Think positively and creatively about how you could get involved and don’t rely on the assumption that business will automatically increase.
“As ever, companies with a healthy cash flow will be best placed to take advantage of any opportunities that come their way,” he added.