By Doug Mahoney, Regional Director, UK Trade & Investment West Midlands

A global audience of 4 billion, 120 Heads of State visiting and half a million extra visitors make London 2012 Olympics a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase the UK.

So what does this mean for the West Midlands?

So far, more than £500 million of business has been won by local companies supplying London 2012, including Zaun Fencing of Wolverhampton, Slick Seating of Redditch, Golden Bear Toys of Telford, Premier Group of Coventry, Acme Whistles of Birmingham and Merrythought of Ironbridge.

But what if you haven’t yet taken advantage of the opportunities on offer?

The good news is, it’s not too late.

One of the key aims of UKTI is to help firms emulate the success of Australian companies, which, following the Sydney Olympics, were successful in winning business across the world supplying other major international sports events.

There are a wealth of business opportunities arising from other forthcoming global sports projects, such as FIFA World CUP 2014 in Brazil, Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, Olympic Games 2016 in Brazil, World CUP 2018 in Russia and FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Qatar alone is expected to be worth £6.4 billion in contracts.

Like other regions around the UK, the West Midlands is playing host to several international Olympic Teams who are basing their training camps in the region before and during the Games. These include the Jamaican track and field team, the Ukraine Basketball team and the Pakistan hockey team. The USA track and field teams will be based in Birmingham.

To maximise opportunities for trade with the USA and Brazil leading up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Brazil, UKTI’s Birmingham team is holding a USA and Brazil event on July 12. This builds on the success of a similar American event held last year. The programme will include keynote speakers and a chance to meet and discuss business opportunities with UKTI colleagues based in America.

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