20/10/10

By Claire West

According to entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul Ragan British business needs to wake-up and prepare for the 2012 Olympic Games or they will miss out on its full economic impact.

“According to a report published yesterday over two thirds of UK companies are expecting no impact on their businesses from the Olympics. They need to wake up. An event the size of the Olympics will provide a myriad of opportunities. They will also have a massive effect on logistics and not just in London,” said Mr Ragan, who is a star of the Channel 4 TV hit show ‘Secret Millionaire’.

“Products and services need to be ready and available and the lack of planning worries me,” he said.

The Games Readiness report from accountancy and financial services giant Deloitte discovered that more than half of business involved in tourism, hospitality and leisure are expecting ‘virtually no impact’ from the Games despite 10 million tickets going on sale. Also, 70% of retail businesses reported that they expected no impact.

The situation was no better in London where the report found that 60% of businesses were expecting only a minimal impact from the Games.

“You only have to visit the Olympic cities that have successfully held the Games to realise how they have been transformed. Barcelona and Sydney are both incredible cities now and the Olympics played a large part in that,” said Mr Ragan.

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the Government was ‘working closely with existing business networks, such as CBI and FSB, to ensure that British firms maximise the opportunities created by the Games’.

“Even if companies are not expecting huge increases in business they need to seriously plan for contingencies like shortage of materials and transport disruption that may well impact upon them,” said Mr Ragan.