Around £650 million of our budget will come through the money we raise from our domestic partnerships with companies who want to associate with London 2012. No previous Games has ever recruited a single 'Tier One' partner before the preceding Games. But here at LOCOG we have already signed up five – Lloyds TSB, EDF Energy, adidas, British Airways and BT – with Deloitte in the Tier Two category. It's almost an Olympic record in itself!
However, with apparently choppy economic waters ahead we are not complacent and with over 30 more partnership categories in different areas there are many more benefits available to firms who want to partner with us.
As most of the other speakers were business people discussing the hard economics of the Games, first of all I wanted to remind the audience of the centrality of sport to the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games!
It might sound strange - but alongside all the other discussion about important benefits like regeneration or environmental sustainability, I don't want people to forget that it is staging a fantastic Games for over 15,000 of the world's greatest athletes which truly lies at the heart of our project. I know what athletics did to transform my own opportunities and promoting the amazing power of sport to change lives will always be my number one priority whatever else leads the headlines over the next four years.
Of course, the business case for 2012 is compelling for UK firms and not least the £6 billion of contracts to be won from ourselves and the ODA. In January I launched our 'Business Network' and 'CompeteFor' website in Manchester and already there are over 8,000 British firms 'business ready' to win these contracts. Around 70% have gone to small and medium sized enterprises, spread across the nations and regions of the country.
In my speech, I also wanted to stress to CBI members the wider spin-offs beyond our own funding. By partnering with these firms we have leveraged in the private sector’s money and invaluable expertise into fulfilling our vision to use the power of the Games to inspire change. From Lloyds TSB's 'Local Heroes' initiative to support grassroots sporting talent to EDF Energy’s 'Carbon Challenge' on energy saving we are delivering in partnership the promise to inspire change in sports participation and protecting our world.
With activations from adidas, BA and BT still to come, these partnerships are providing the cash that pays for sporting equipment, medals and ceremonies at Games-time but also the grassroots investment and new thinking that leave legacies which will benefit communities around the UK for generations to come.
There was a really positive reaction from the businessmen and women, and afterwards I spoke to several involved in supplying Beijing who enthused about the way Games engagement was expanding their business and their profits. That's hard and fast evidence of change happening now. Far from the allegations that business isn't engaged, some have been quick off the mark to reap the benefits.
There's an obvious comparison to make. Right now, Britain's top athletes are fine-tuning their preparations for Beijing but they are also planning their schedules over the next four years so they can do even better in 2012.
In the same way, forward thinking firms are honing their business plans – not just to reap the rewards of involvement with the London Games but also gaining experience with us to get match fit for winning contracts with future sporting events.
After all, London and Birmingham are hosting gymnastics championships before 2012; Liverpool, Manchester and London will be hosting European and world badminton championships; and Glasgow will stage the Commonwealth Games in 2014. If your firm can cope with the pressure of getting it right for the biggest sports event in the world, then your firm can cope with anything! It doesn’t matter you are a multi-national conglomerate based in the City or a small, family owned business in North Wales – the opportunities do exist.
Go to the London 2012 Business Network for more information and help make the London Games a success at the finishing line and the bottom line.
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