How the Olympics has forgotten small businesses
By Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones
Like 27 million other TV viewers, I watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics with pride, amusement and wonder. Mind you, having said that, I think the Queen could have smiled a bit more, and the job of sorting out the NHS has been made significantly harder after Danny Boyle’s very long homage to this national treasure. However, the Olympics are now in full swing and look set to be a great success.
At the risk of being a party pooper I would like to turn to the subject of what happens to those of us in business at the...
...end of this national extravaganza. What do we get out of it?
Seven years ago, when London won the bid we were told that winning the Olympics would be a great opportunity for business. While the Olympics do offer an opportunity for business, it is only a certain kind of business that has benefitted – ‘Big Business’, the likes of Barclaycard, McDonalds and Coca Cola.
When London won the bid I was lucky enough to get an audience with one of the Olympic organising big-wigs. This came about because I happened to meet Lord Coe at an event and he helpfully gave me the name of the right person to see. From the moment I met the organisers it was apparent that there were so many restrictions on what could and could not be done, not just around the Olympic complex, but around the Olympic brand. Any involvement for small businesses was almost impossible.
The Government could so easily have used the Olympics as an opportunity to showcase small British businesses. The Olympic opening ceremony celebrated Britain’s extraordinary history and achievements, but once those visitors left the stadium what evidence in the rest of the complex was there... continued on page two >