By Daniel Hunter
Two thirds of successful business leaders believe the Olympic Games will leave a positive legacy for the UK — with businesses making sure they don’t miss out the opportunities on offer.
The figures come from the second Millionaire Monitor, an annual survey of 500-plus millionaires and multi-millionaires by Skandia.
According to the financial experts, 69.4 per cent of the entrepreneurs surveyed think London 2012 will boost the economy — and with more than 75,000 contracts awarded during the Olympic and Paralympic Games worth an estimated £6bn, the benefit to those directly involved is clear.
But the Games has also brought new business sites, space and amenities, more competitive supply-chains, fantastic world class infrastructure and exposure to the international spotlight.
One company determined to make the most of the unique spur for development and economic growth is Godalming’s Intrepid Apparel, set up in 2011 by Jason Corbett.
The 36-year-old mountain bike fanatic spotted a gap in the market for a clothing design company and raised £150,000 from his savings, girlfriend Emma Bruce and at a Dragons’ Den-style night for cycling friends to launch the business.
Now travelling Europe promoting his brand, the former tree surgeon attended the Box Hill Cycling Expo with hundreds of thousands of bike fans descending on Surrey for the Olympic road race.
Although there was disappointment for Mark Cavendish, there was joy for Team GB as Lizzie Armitstead claimed silver in the women’s event while Bradley Wiggins took gold in the time trial.
With the Olympics and Wiggins becoming the first British winner of the Tour de France, cycling has never enjoyed a higher profile in the UK and Jason said it was the perfect time to launch his firm.
“I had to get my parents to re-mortgage part of their house, so it was a gamble but one I was really willing to take as I loved cycling and wanted to be involved in the cycling industry and I knew there was a gap in the market,” said Jason, who also sponsors promising Surrey mountain biker Sam Brightman.
“I wasn’t really concerned about the economy because I knew people who love cycling will always do it, if not more because they won’t be going on holiday, they’ll stay and ride their bike in the UK.
“The Olympics couldn’t be more perfect timing for us, just to get the brand out there — a lot of people who ride road bikes also ride mountain bikes as well, so it’s good for to be here and have a presence at such a massive event.”
Working from home and with girlfriend Emma helping him with the accounts, Jason expects the business to expand as cycling’s exposure to millions of viewers across the UK continues during London 2012.
“We’re constantly trying to get more people on bikes, that’s something we are really passionate about and I hope the mass exposure of the Olympics for the sport in general will give the UK a boost, as we’ve lacked investment in the past,” he said.
“You only have to look at the downhill — we’ve got four or five of the top mountain bike riders in the world but they’re not recognised.
“We’ve really started pushing the Union Jack on our products, promoting British riders and design — we have loads of great riders in Britain and we are really proud of that.
“I find it extremely boring to do one collection for the whole year and sit on that money, as soon as we have the cash we bring out a new product so we never have too much stock hanging around and going stale so we have to discount at the end of the year.”
Skandia’s Millionaire Monitor found that regeneration of deprived areas of London was the main bonus of the Games for 26.3 per cent of those surveyed, while 15.7 per cent believed there would be increased confidence in the UK as a centre of excellence.
Males and those aged over 50 were the most polarised as to whether the Games would leave a lasting legacy, with 39 per cent of men saying there would be no legacy, which increased to 40.7 per cent for the over 50s.
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